Colorado town loses ‘icebox’ title
Grand County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
FRASER, Colorado ” Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin looked coolly across his desk at the certificate of registration from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as the wind and snow howled against the window pane in his office.
“I don’t have a whole lot to say,” he said, glancing at that piece of paper that “certifies” International Falls, Minn., as the official town designated “Icebox of the Nation.”
“As of this point in time, our application has not been withdrawn. We’re evaluating what this means.”
Durbin was tight-lipped about the certificate of registration, but a feeling of “to be continued” hung in the air.
“If nothing else, we’re still cool,” he said.
The Minnesota city on the Canadian border had been fighting the town of Fraser for the legal right to the trademark.
International Falls Mayor Shawn Mason said more was at stake than bragging rights. She said International Falls has used the icebox title to market itself as the nation’s premier site for cold-weather testing.
International Falls City Attorney Joe Boyle said his town can prove that it has used the moniker since 1948. And the city has photographic proof that its 1955 Pee Wee hockey team traveled to Boston with jackets saying, “The Icebox of the Nation.”
International Falls paid Fraser $2,000 in 1989 for dropping its claim to the title. But when the Minnesota community of 6,500 people failed to renew its trademark, the Colorado town jumped.
“They let it lapse and we thought, heck, if they don’t want it, we do,” Fraser Mayor Fran Cook said. “This is the first I’ve heard of any resolution and I have to admit I’m surprised.”
Cook said little will change even if Fraser’s lawyers confirm defeat.
“It’s something we’ve always gotten a kick out of and it will not disappear from the old-timers’ lingo,” she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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