City moves to trademark logo
Staff Writer | May 3, 2023 1:00 AM
SANDPOINT — Sandpoint officials are taking steps to trademark the city's logo.
City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton said the move simply addresses something that was something overlooked when Sandpoint officials selected the design as part of a contest more than a decade ago. It is not, she added, in response to any particular message or group, nor is it political, she added.
"It was an oversight that it hadn't been done before," she added. "This is simply crossing the Ts and dotting the Is."
Stapleton said the city revised its logo 10-15 years ago, building into city code protections for its ownership and outlining how it can be used. A formal trademark of the image was simply overlooked at that time.
"It was just an action that we hadn't taken in the past because we didn't think about it," Stapleton said.
However, a recent decision by Boundary County commissioners to trademark the county's seal problem city officials to put in motion plans to trademark the city's logo.
Stapleton said the city was advised by its attorney that the trademark application could be done administratively and didn't require council action. While the city is protected by its existing city code, the trademark adds another level to help prevent confusion.
"This is about protecting the city's message and the logo signifies it is the official message of the city," Stapleton said.
The move is not an uncommon one with more organizations, political groups, and governments taking steps to formally protect the images with a trademark — similar to what is seen with businesses and corporations.
The city's logo helps identify that the message comes from Sandpoint to prevent potential confusion in whether a message comes from the city.
"This is not about any particular message or any particular group," Stapleton said. "This is just working to prevent confusing messaging to the community."
With the current culture of divisiveness, Stapleton said the city's elected officials have worked hard to stay focused on the business of running the city and staying out of that division.
"The protection helps further in keeping us in that land of serving the residents," Stapleton said.
With the trademark, potential infringement would apply to anyone using it in a way not outlined by the city. Trademark infringement is prosecuted civillly, but is not a criminal act, according to rocketlawyer.com. Instead, lawsuits over trademark infringement typically require an individual to stop using the trademark and may be asked to return any profits made off the infringing use or pay damages for the use of the trademark.
According to the Idaho Secretary of State, a trademark is defined as “a word, name, symbol or device or any combination thereof used by a person, company or partnership to identify and distinguish services or goods, including a unique product or service."