A disgruntled concessionaire is demanding more than $51 million for names and websites.
Frequent visitors to Yosemite National Park will be sad to learn that the park’s many landmark structures are being forced to change their names due to a trademark dispute. Places like the Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village, among others, will now boast names like the Majestic Yosemite Hotel and Half Dome Village. The changes come after the park’s old concessionaire, Delaware North, lost a bid to renew its contract last year. The company, which was responsible for operating the park’s hotels, restaurants, and activities, had been trademarking many landmarks’ names without telling the National Park Service (NPS), including “Yosemite National Park.”
Don’t worry, the park itself will not need to change its name, but in order for the new concessionaire to effectively prepare for their takeover in March, structure names must be changed while the NPS disputes Delaware North’s claim. That means the famous brown signs throughout the park, brochures, and marketing materials must all be swapped out.
It’s important to note that the NPS is not denying that Delaware North owns intellectual property related to the park–the company has been working for the park service since 1993–but that the trademarks it claims to have obtained are not valid. According to Outside Online, which researched the issue at length, a law passed in late 2014 allows the government to keep a name associated with a building or structure on the National Register of Historical Places. Many of Yosemite’s buildings are on the list.
So, how does all of this affect travelers? The short answer is it doesn’t. But, you can bet that many patrons will be up in arms about changing what in some cases has been in place for hundreds of years.