BY JIM AUSTIN
THE COOPERSTOWN CRIER
The village of Cooperstown and the city of Auburn have agreed to share the Doubleday name.
A consent agreement that would formalize the name sharing was approved by the village board of trustees last month and ratified by the Auburn city council last Thursday night.
The village’s historic baseball diamond has, for decades, borne the name of Abner Doubleday, who was at one time credited with inventing the game. The use of the name was never in question until the village set out to trademark the name with an eye toward creating a logo and licensing its use as a means of generating extra revenue.
Deputy Mayor Jeff Katz worked with his neighbor and trademark attorney Chuck Knull, who donated his time on the project, to trademark the Doubleday name for the field. According to Katz, when the village filed the trademark application, Auburn balked because the city had already trademarked the name for its minor league baseball team.
Katz said Knull indicated that the village was on firm footing because it had been using the name far longer than the Auburn team whose trademark dates to 1996.
If it went into litigation, he was certain the village would prevail.
``Chuck told me that trademarks are granted based on use,’’ Katz said Friday.
Knull contacted an attorney for the Auburn team and negotiated the consent agreement to allow the village and the city to continue to use the name. He also contacted an attorney with Major League Baseball, which oversees the names and logos for minor league teams, and he also was in agreement with both entities using the name.
``The lawyers signed off because they knew that when push comes to shove, we are the rightful owners of the Doubleday trademark,’’ Katz said. ``Basically it’s us allowing them to use the name.’’
During the February board of trustees meeting, a motion from Katz to approve the consent agreement, seconded by Trustee Eric Hage, the chair of the Doubleday Field committee, was passed unanimously.
The consent agreement was forwarded to Auburn and was approved unanimously Thursday night by the city council there.
Auburn Mayor Mike Quill was not in his office Friday, but in a story posted Thursday evening on the website of the Auburn newspaper The Citizen, City Manager Mark Palesh said there should be no problems with the two parties using the Doubleday name because they are for two separate organizations _ a baseball team and a baseball park.
Katz said there has been some misunderstanding in the community concerning Auburn’s role.
``What was distorted was that we needed them to grant us permission. The truth is; it’s exactly the opposite,’’ he said.
``There was never a point when our lawyer said we were at risk. We’re always going to win based on use.’’
The agreement with Auburn should be the last step in what has been an almost yearlong process to trademark the field name. ``I’m very happy they voted for the consent agreement. It is something that clearly is in the best interest of both parties,’’ Katz said.
BY JIM AUSTIN
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