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8/26/12

April 12, 2012 To: City Ad Hoc Committee: Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl and

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April 12, 2012 To: City Ad Hoc Committee: Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl and City Councilor Patricia Capek

RE: Red Flannel Festival Trademarks The Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors has reviewed your letter of March 23, 2012 with regard to the City's use of the Festival's trademarks. We also appreciate the ability to sit down again together to meet last Wednesday. While the Festival recognizes that the City has done its own very extensive research into the history of the trademarks and logos, the statement that it is undisputed that the City had first use of such trademarks is simply incorrect. As you may know, Nina Babcock wrote the original article in 1936. According to the Citys own article, penned by the City Clerks 2009 MML Magazine states (attached) The Clipper Girls figuring they only had a couple of years to play out the thriving red flannel business, came up with the idea of a Red Flannel Festival. The first Red Flannel Festival was held in November of 1939. According to the excerpts from The Cedar Springs Story attached to your letter, Nina Babcock is also directly quoted as saying we decided to tag Cedar Springs the Red Flannel Town and hold a festival. Nina also founded the first Red Flannel Club (organized and incorporated) in 1940, and remained President of that Club, as indicated in the Cedar Springs Story. This club eventually became the organization it is today when it incorporated as the Red Flannel Festival in 1978. To suggest the Red Flannel Festival organization merely began in 1978 is ridiculous. Using that same logic, one could infer the City was not in existence before 1959, as evidenced by your attachment of 1941 Village stationery.
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8/26/12

April 12, 2012 To: City Ad Hoc Committee: Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl and

Your assertion that The City was using the same logo as early as 1976, in that case on the cover of a book about its history is simply not true. The Cedar Springs Story, published in 1976, is a story about the City of Cedar Springs, Solon Township and Nelson Township. It was written independently of the City by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJong. Local resident Sue Harrison has always owned the copyright of the entire book. However, without getting into more details of the founding of the Festival and its history of trademark use, the Festival has protected its rights to its trademarks through various state and federal trademark registrations. As your attorneys have probably explained, merely posting signs around town in itself does not create and/or maintain any legitimate trademark rights. Consequently, the Festival does not agree that the City has any bonafide common law rights in

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any of the Festival's trademarks, or has any superior rights for which the City is now trying to secure payment for city services. With respect, the Festival Board has clear obligation and duty to protect all its assets. In this situation, the City has admitted it is clearly infringing on the trademarks owned by the Festival. It is true that in the past, the City and the Festival have worked cooperatively in promoting the Festival. However, while we have worked together to promote the City and the Festival through joint use of some of Festival's marks, recently the City, on its own initiative, began promoting its own branding of license plates and license plate covers using the Festival's trademarks. The City has also used additional RFF trademarks on its social media site, business cards, and on new park benches. Obviously, this places the City in direct competition with the Festival by causing consumers to be confused as to the source of goods and services used in connection with its marks. These actions directly harm the Festival not only by diluting its brand but also though lost revenue. The City's actions have resulted in lost sales of Festival merchandise or other services provided by the Festival. Consequently, it is the Festival's position that this harm does greatly outweigh any benefit the City would have in using the trademarks in any fundraising. Additionally, the Citys use of the various trademarks would lead to more consumer confusion as to whether the Festival is affiliated with the City. Regrettably, the Festival cannot accept the Citys offer to live and let live. While the RFF Board of Directors is sympathetic to the overall financial situation of the City, the fact remains the RFF budget is approx. $90,000 per year (from donations and event revenue) and the Citys overall budget is $6.9 million (in taxpayer dollars) per year.

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8/26/12

April 12, 2012 To: City Ad Hoc Committee: Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl and

In lieu of any specific dollar amount, the RFF Ad Hoc Committee would recommend to the RFF Board that the City select two (2) of the Red Flannel Festivals registered trademarks for use royalty free to the City. The Festival would then grant the City a royalty free, fully paid up license to use those two trademarks for commercial purposes at least though calendar year 2015. However, this license cannot be perpetual as you requested on April 4, and must have some reasonable term, to which we are open to discussion. Tentatively, you have selected the banner style round Red Flannel Town logo/trademark and the words Red Flannel Town, U.S.A. The Festival Board is truly concerned about the Citys economic hardship and its concerns regarding the current budget. We plan on being present at the Budget Planning Session on April 14 to offer any suggestions we can to help the situation. As we discussed April 4, we are willing to roll up our sleeves and collaboratively work with City staff to assist in reducing the total overall Festival services cost to the City . We remain cheerfully optimistic that we can continue further discussions in an effort to reach a mutually beneficial resolution for both parties. However, this issue has been

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outstanding since December of 2011, and almost five months of discussions has yet to provide any mutually agreeable solution. In order to give the volunteers of the Red Flannel Festival the tremendous amount of time and effort it takes (and the community deserves) to prepare for its 2012 Festival, please direct all future correspondence to our trademark attorney. We require a response by April 22, 2012. For the RFF Board of Directors, __________________ Michele Andres _________________ Rand Ruwersma _________________ Nick Andres

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