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Tag Archive | "Shawn Kiphart"

Founders Day celebration next weekend


Music is back for this year’s Founders Day, along with several other events. Post photo by J. Reed.

Music is back for this year’s Founders Day, along with several other events. Post photo by J. Reed.

March 28-29

Cedar Springs was officially recognized as a village 143 years ago, on March 18, 1871. And that’s something worth celebrating.

The Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce invites young and old alike to come out and help celebrate that special event with the second annual Founder’s Day weekend, March 28-29. There will be something for everyone!

The event kicks off Friday with a new addition—a children’s street fair from 4-7 p.m. at the tent on the corner of Main and Ash Streets. From 4 to 5:30 p.m. there will be music, a balloon man, and face painting; from 5:30 to 5:45 will be storytelling by Post editor Judy Reed; from 6 to 6:30 ventriloquist/magician Charles Mabie will entertain the kids. There will also be carnival games and other events going on during the entire three hours such as ring toss, beanbag toss, duck pond, bucket bonanza, crafts, a log cabin to play in, a real lumberjack, model trains, wooden train sets, and a petting zoo courtesy of Double K Farms and 4H.

Saturday has more in store. The Cedar Springs Public Library will host pioneer crafts and storytelling from 10 to 1 p.m. at the Library. The Cedar Springs Historical Museum will be open from 11 to 3 p.m., and host several different presentations at the museum as well.

392828_614001431948730_1727882393_nThe Saturday evening free concert is back at the Ash Street tent from 4-10 p.m. and all ages are welcome. This year’s concert features the bands Signal Trip and the Youz Guyz Band. Food will be available to purchase from The Grilling Company and will feature pulled pork, brisket, and sides. Beer (including a local craft beer) and hard ciders will also be available to purchase.

Chamber president Shawn Kiphart said that they called the future Cedar Springs Brewing Company first (a business coming to the area in the future) to see if they would be available to supply the beer, but they are not yet ready. “We look forward to using them at a future event,” he noted.

For questions about the event, call Kiphart at (616) 773-5126.

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Chamber responds to the Festival


 

By Judy Reed

We received a lot of response to our story last week regarding a cease and desist letter the Red Flannel Festival sent to the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce regarding use of the Red Flannel Town, and Red Flannel Town, U.S.A. service marks.

The Red Flannel Festival trademarked it, but the Chamber also trademarked three taglines that incorporate the words Red Flannel Town in a longer phrase. When the Chamber organized the city’s annual holiday event this year, they named it “A Red Flannel Town Christmas, Come Mingle with Kris Kringle” and registered it in October, along with two other taglines, which were all approved by the state: A Red Flannel Town Christmas, and The Original Red Flannel Town, USA, Cedar Springs, MI.

The Red Flannel Festival shows they registered “The Red Flannel Town” on June 3, 2005, and “Red Flannel Town, U.S.A.” on June 27, 2011.

Chamber president Shawn Kiphart said they  used the term because Cedar Springs has always been known as Red Flannel Town. The Red Flannel Festival said it’s a direct violation of their trademark rights, and it is likely to “cause confusion as to the source or sponsorship of Chamber materials and events.”

Kiphart didn’tagree. “Red Flannel Town is part of a larger title we use. We are referencing Cedar Springs. There is no confusion. I don’t think people think, ‘Oh, it’s the Red Flannel Festival,’ we believe they think of Cedar Springs.”

The Chamber sent a letter back asking for clarification and received one back from the Festival. Kiphart also asked the community to tell him what they want—to forget about using the logo and let the Festival use it only for them, or to fight for it. The responses we received, and that he received personally, were overwhelmingly in favor of letting the moniker identify the town itself.

Last Wednesday evening, the Red Flannel Board met to elect officers, and representatives from the Chamber board were there. Unofficial sources from both sides said there was some good discussion.

The Chamber was asked to put in writing to the Festival what they want, and they did so with a letter this week. In a nutshell, they are asking the Red Flannel Festival to let groups and businesses in Cedar Springs use the name “Red Flannel Town” to positively impact the town, without having to ask each time. You can read the letter in its entirety on page 12, along with what comments readers made on last week’s story.

 

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RF Festival threatens Chamber with legal action


By Judy Reed

 

The Red Flannel Festival has sent a “cease and desist” letter to the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, ordering them to stop using the terms “The Red Flannel Town” and “Red Flannel Town, USA” or face legal action.

When the Chamber organized the city’s annual holiday event this year, they named it “A Red Flannel Town Christmas, Come Mingle with Kris Kringle” and registered the name with the State of Michigan on October 8, 2013. “Our position is that Cedar Springs is Red Flannel Town and always has been, and that’s why the holiday event was so titled,” explained Chamber president Shawn Kiphart.

N-pull-quote-KiphartThey also registered two other taglines, which were both approved by the state: A Red Flannel Town Christmas, and The Original Red Flannel Town, USA, Cedar Springs, MI.

The Red Flannel Festival shows they registered “The Red Flannel Town” on June 3, 2005, and “Red Flannel Town, U.S.A.” on June 27, 2011.

Although the state approved the Chamber’s taglines, the Red Flannel Festival feels it is trademark infringement. “We believe the Chamber’s use of these trademarks constitutes trademark infringement, unfair competition, as well as other common law causes of action,” read the cease and desist letter sent by the Red Flannel Festival’s lawyer, Frank Scutch.

Kiphart responded with a letter asking where they had infringed on the Red Flannel Festival’s property, stating that they would not use their specific phrases without permission. The Festival’s law firm then sent a response that the Chamber insignias specifically incorporate the Festival’s registered marks “The Red Flannel Town” and “Red Flannel Town, U.S.A.” and that their use on their own or as part of a phrase is a direct violation of the Red Flannel Festival’s trademark rights. The letter also said that was likely to “cause confusion as to the source or sponsorship of Chamber materials and events.”

Kiphart doesn’t agree. “Red Flannel Town is part of a larger title we use. We are referencing Cedar Springs. There is no confusion. I don’t think people think, ‘Oh, it’s the Red Flannel Festival,’ we believe they think of Cedar Springs.”

He noted that Cedar Springs was known as the Red Flannel Town long before the Festival trademarked it. On their application, it states that the first time the phrase was used in commerce was October 1, 1950. But there are meeting minutes by the City of Cedar Springs dating back to December of 1941 showing the city was using it on their letterhead at that time.

Kiphart said he would like to know, does the Red Flannel Festival not think Cedar Springs is the Red Flannel Town? That it should only be used in connection with the Festival itself?

The Post asked Festival President Michele Andres that question. “The Festival has owned several state and federal trademarks for many years,” she said. “Red Flannel Town and Red Flannel Town, USA are both owned legally by the Festival regardless of anyone’s personal opinion. The Festival has readily granted permission to several organizations and entities who formally request to use its various trademarks. These marks simply do not belong to the Chamber.”

Kiphart said he doesn’t think they should belong to either entity. “It doesn’t belong to us. It’s the town’s identity,” he said. “If they are asking us to stop referring to Cedar Springs as the Red Flannel Town, we will not. Fear and intimidation tactics will not work on us. They are more than welcome to keep spending money on attorney fees to strip the town of its identity, but we will not play ball.”

Andres remarked that Kiphart needs to schedule some time to professionally and maturely discuss the matter directly with the Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors. “We have asked to meet numerous times and have received no response. It is extremely disappointing that this organization’s leadership does not understand or comprehend basic trademark infringement, especially as business owners.”

Kiphart said they have never declined to meet with them about using the Festival’s  logo. “As we have not wanted to use their exact logo, we haven’t met,” he explained. “We didn’t contact them to ask permission to use the town’s identity.”

Kiphart said the Chamber might be open to sitting down with the Festival to discuss the issue, as long as it was open to the public.

“We want to know what the community thinks,” said Kiphart. “We will do what the community wants. If the community wants us to tell them (the RFF) to take their ball and go home, we will.”

According to the most recent letter sent to the Chamber by the Festival, they have until February 4 to discuss with the Festival the steps they will take to “cease infringement of the RFF’s trademarks.” If they do not hear from them, “the RFF will have no choice but to take legal action against the Chamber,” the letter said.

What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor at news@cedarspringspost.com (limit 350 words), comment on this post, call the Chamber at 616-773-5126, or the Red Flannel Festival at 616-696-2662.

The Red Flannel Festival will also be having their annual board meeting tonight (Thursday, January 30) at 6:30 p.m. at their office on 21 E. Maple Street, where they will vote on a new grand marshal for this year’s 75th Festival, and elect their officers for the year. Those wishing to volunteer are also welcome.

 

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Chamber registers insignia for Red Flannel Town Christmas


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By Judy Reed

 

The Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce has given the city’s annual holiday tree lighting a new twist. Not only does it feature some new events, but a new name as well. And it’s been registered with the state of Michigan.

According to the Chamber’s president, Shawn Kiphart, the committee for the event, which will now feature activities all day, decided that the name of the event should tell people where it is. So they called it “A Red Flannel Town Christmas, Come Mingle with Kris Kringle.”

“We could have named it “Family Hometown Christmas” but that doesn’t tell me where it is,” explained Kiphart.  “We knew that it would be in Cedar Springs, and that Santa would be there. We live in Red Flannel Town, and always have, so decided that’s what we would call it.”

However, the Red Flannel Festival has taken exception to the title “Red Flannel Town.”

“Michele Andres (Red Flannel Festival president) called me a few days after I put up the event page and said that we couldn’t use it, that it was too similar,” said Kiphart. “She said I would need to send an email to the board to ask for permission.”

Kiphart said he called the state of Michigan to find out if that was indeed the case. “The state told me it didn’t look like anyone was using it, but to fill out an application and they would check it out. So that’s what we did, and they approved it,” he explained.

He also registered two other taglines, which were both approved: A Red Flannel Town Christmas, and The Original Red Flannel Town, USA, Cedar Springs, MI.

But Andres said that the Chamber could be infringing, even though the state approved it.  “We think it’s important to emphasize that the Red Flannel Festival owns a number of its own marks which identify Festival branding as the source of various goods and services. For example, the RFF holds three variations of trademark registrations for THE RED FLANNEL TOWN. It’s the RFF board’s position that consumers would be confused between the two marks as the mark THE RED FLANNEL TOWN is, and has been, so closely associated with the RFF.

“The City recognized this last year when deciding on how to use the mark on city property. It seems clear that members of the public will think that the Red Flannel Town Christmas, etc. is in some way associated with the RFF.”

Andres would like to have the Chamber ask them if they can use the logo. She told the Post that they were ready to sign an agreement with an incoming business who asked to use their logo on its product, and they were going to do it at no charge.

“Certainly the Red Flannel Board agrees both organizations can work together to promote Cedar Springs as ‘The Red Flannel Town’ as long as the Chamber approaches the Board and asks its permission to use its property in a manner consistent with Board policy. To date, they have been unwilling to do that. The Board is merely policing its rights in order to maintain the strength of its brand and trademarks. We would think the Chamber would respect these rights and the Red Flannel brand and go about this in the right way so the entire Cedar Springs community can benefit,” she said.

Kiphart said that he has already gotten a phone call from the Festival’s lawyer about it. He said he assured him he would only be using the words and phrases he registered, not any Red Flannel logos.

Kiphart said he is a huge supporter of the Red Flannel Festival and has no beef with them. But he argues that Cedar Springs was known as Red Flannel Town before the Festival came into being, and that “Red Flannel Town” belongs to the community to use. “I registered it as a name, not as a brand,” he said. “It’s the town’s. I registered it to make sure the community could use it. Red Flannel Town is where I live, and most of the community thinks that, too, so I’m going to honor that.”

 

 

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