Resort owner wants to trademark Montana phrase
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) ” “The Last Best Place,” the title of a 1988 Montana anthology that has been widely adopted by Montanans and Montana businesses as a nickname for the state, may soon be on the prohibited list.
David Lipson, a Las Vegas businessman and owner of the luxury Resort at Paws Up, has applied for eight trademarks for exclusive use of the phrase in the resort’s advertisements, brochures and other commercial ventures.
The applications, which would cover about 100 commercial uses of the phrase, are in the final phase before registration, according to records of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Lipson declined to comment on the trademark applications.
Others, however, are upset about the effort, including the man who coined the phrase. Author William Kittredge, who first used the phrase for the anthology he edited, called the applications offensive.
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“I’m vehemently opposed to it,” he said.
Lipson’s applications would give him claim to “The Last Best Place” for travel, lodging and food service, as well as for use with a variety of retail and manufactured items including furniture, clothing, cookware, crockery and even lingerie, according to the trademark office.
The applications were made under the name of a company called Last Best Beef LLC. The Nevada secretary of state’s office said Last Best Beef is owned by Lipson through another one of his Nevada companies, DEL Investments Corp.
Lipson’s first three trademark applications were filed in 2001, according to the trademark office. Two more were filed in January 2002, and his final two in August last year. Another two trademarks already owned by Lipson give him the right to use “The Last Best Place” in catalogs.
The phrase has become a household term in Montana since it first appeared in 1988, and has become almost as synonymous with the state as the phrase “Big Sky Country,” Montana Arts Council Director Arnie Fishbaugh said.
“It means Montana,” Fishbaugh said.
A wide variety of businesses and public entities now use the phrase, including real estate agents, resorts, restaurants, retailers, marketers and universities, as well as Montana’s official Web site.