×

Glieberman discusses protecting brand, social media disagrees

Photo courtesy of Mount Bohemia From a forest-covered mountain in 1999 to one of the top three ski resorts in the United States in 2020, Mount Bohemia Ski Resort has turned an insignificant geographic feature into the one of the most premier ski experiences in the U.S.

KEWEENAW COUNTY — As a trademark dispute continues in federal court, it has come to involve suits, counter-suits, and more suits. One involved business, Lac La Belle Lodge and Bear Belly Pit Stop, has made an emotional public plea on the popular website gofundme.com, asking for a total of $50,000.

The funds are to assist with the business’ escalating legal fees. The request, titled: “A David versus Goliath story,” authored by David Prehoda, a friend of the Troy and Cathy Westcott, owners of the Lac La Belle Lodge since 2020, states, in part:

“Troy and Cathy are the owners of a small ‘Mom and Pop’ business, in Lac La Belle, known as the Lac La Belle Lodge and the Bear Belly PitStop. Troy and Cathy have been the proud owners of the Lac La Belle Lodge, since 2000.”

That was the same year that Lonie Glieberman began building the Mount Bohemia Ski Resort, which today is among the Top 3 extreme ski experiences in the United States, and has become known simply as Mount Bohemia. The name, in fact, has become so iconic in its relationship to the business that now occupies the mountain, that the name has become a major part of the brand of the resort.

To protect the integrity and the reputation of the business, the business’ brand, as well as the ski resort, Glieberman, owner of Mount Bohemia Ski Resort, has been compelled to trademark the phrase “Mount Bohemia,” because he feels it is now synonymous with business.

However, as court documents state, the Wescotts have refused to recognize the trademark and have continued to manufacture, and offer for public sale, merchandise and apparel at their gift shop bearing the name “Mount Bohemia.”

The argument stems, according to Prehoda’s gofundme.com page, from the Westcott’s apparent refusal to recognize Mt. Bohemia as a ski resort, or anything other than “an iconic geological feature.”

“Now come the owner(s)/operator(s) of the Mount Bohemia Ski Resort, seeking to trademark the iconic, geologic formation, known as Mount Bohemia,” Prehoda wrote, “and, in doing so, have sued Troy and Cathy Westcott, seeking to block them from selling any novelty T-shirts, sweatshirts, or other gift shop items that mention the name or depict the likeness of this well-established, Keweenaw County, geologic formation. Troy and Cathy’s gift shop items and apparel have never used the likeness nor the logo of the Mount Bohemia Ski Resort.”

The core of the dispute lies in the Westcotts’ and Prehoda’s statement: “…seeking to trademark the iconic, geologic formation known as Mount Bohemia.” According to the trademark applications filed in federal court, Black Bear, Inc., also known as Mount Bohemia, has requested, and has been granted, trademarks — not for the geologic formation known as Mount Bohemia — but rather, for the two combined words Mount and Bohemia. The trademarks, Glieberman told the Daily Mining Gazette, simply protect the phrase “Mount Bohemia” from being used by someone, who might want to use it in a way that is detrimental to the integrity of the ski resort, which bears the name Mount Bohemia, something Glieberman said has happened in the past, but was specific in stating that did not involve the Westcotts.

Glieberman told the Daily Mining Gazette that there is a viable solution that is not only far less costly to both parties involved, but much more amicable.

“All Troy and Cathy Westcott need to do for Mount Bohemia to end the lawsuit,” he said, “is to approach us for a license agreement.”

The on-going litagation has taken on a life of its own on social media. A page has been created by as-yet unknown parties titled Boycott Mount Bohemia. One advocate, Liza Hentz Roller, posted on the page: “Say no to the predatory litigation by Mount Bohemia Ski Resort on Keweenaw businesses. Boycott Mount Bohemia Ski Resort until Mount Bohemia Ski Resort and their lawyers leave the Keweenaw local businesses alone!”

Roller has posted several such comments without offering an argument in support of her assertions.

Another poster, Holly Rivard, who is also a member of Boycott BackcountryDOTcom, on Nov. 14, posted “Mount Bohemia Ski Resort or (Mount Bohemia) has been deleting reviews and comments critical of their ridiculous lawsuit against our mom and pop businesses who have been using the mountain on their merch for decades.”

The Boycott Mount Bohemia page also deletes comments critical of its attacks on Mount Bohemia, including the posting of an article published in the Daily Mining Gazette. The author of the article posted a response requesting they not use the Daily Mining Gazette or its articles as a tool for which to ruin any local business. While the article is still displayed on the page, the author’s response, as well as two others, have been deleted.

One response to the attacks on both Mount Bohemia and the business’ owner on the social media page, escaped deletion, however. Melissa Rajaniemi Sutinen, wrote the following:

“There are two sides to the story. If it was not for Mount Bohemia, many would not be stopping at local restaurants while there. Many do not come in a specific area just to eat at a local restaurant. A restaurant much of the time is a stop to a specific venue. I would imagine Bohemia does bring people who would not otherwise come to visit the area and it helps other businesses while they visit the area. What sense does it make to boycott a business that probably helps other businesses? There has got to be a solution favorable to all involved. We need local businesses. They mean jobs for people. If people boycott Bohemia, that may mean slower business during the winter months for others, with so many that close for the winter season. I hope this comes to a favorable outcome for all involved because it does not seem reasonable to want to shut down businesses.”

Newsletter

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *
   

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today