DeVos Place Logo Denied Copyright

September 26, 2003
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GRAND RAPIDS — The federal copyright office has rejected a registration application filed by the Convention and Arena Authority for the new DeVos Place logo.

Warner Norcross & Judd attorney Matthew Johnson told board members last week that the office declined to approve the request because it believed the logo lacked the authorship and originality that would support a copyright claim. Johnson said the board could appeal the decision, but added that it would be expensive to do so.

“Since our trademark applications are moving forward successfully, we suggest that you not pursue copyright registration. Therefore, we do not recommend pursuing an appeal at this time,” wrote Johnson in a memo to the board.

Board members took Johnson’s advice and decided not to appeal the copyright decision.

The CAA also filed six trademark registrations for DeVos Place, which has its ribbon-cutting ceremony on Dec. 3 and a public open house on Dec. 20. The filings are in three separate classes, with one in each class for the words “DeVos Place” and the logo. Those applications are pending.

The authority also filed two trademark applications for Van Andel Arena and both were approved. One offers protection for events and advertising materials, while the other covers the arena’s goods and services. The trademarks are effective for five years. After that period expires, the CAA has to show proof that it still is using the Van Andel Arena mark.

Board members also learned last week that the arena had $171,283 in net income for August, a figure that came from just four events -- three concerts and a wrestling show.

“It was a very successful John Mayer concert, and wrestling continues to be good to us,” said CAA member Steven Heacock.

For the two-month-old fiscal year, the arena was $157,380 in the black after capital expenditures.

DeVos Place, however, lost $170,586 in August. For the fiscal year, the convention center was $317,090 in the red at the end of last month. The building has been projected to lose $1.6 million for FY04, which began on July 1.

Board member Clif Charles announced that Gordon Food Service will hold its company convention at DeVos Place next year. For the past two years, the wholesale grocer has held its annual meeting in Fort Wayne because the firm outgrew the Grand Center.

“We’re coming back home and we’re happy to do that,” said Charles, a GFS executive.

DuHadway, Kendall & Associates will provide security services for the new convention center. The firm has provided security for the arena since 1996.

“That will help us realize some economies, as well,” said board member Lew Chamberlin of having D&K protect both buildings.

And the board has to notify the state Liquor Control Commission that CAA Chairman and Grand Rapids Mayor John Logie can sign the application to renew the board’s liquor license for the arena. In a letter to the CAA dated Sept. 12, LCC Director of the Licensing Division Julie Wendt noted that the mayor wasn’t authorized to do so.

“This letter is to notify you that John H. Logie signed our 2003-04 Renewal Application,” wrote Wendt. “Our records, which are generated from the most recent Resolution or LC-52 form submitted by you to this office, do not indicate same as being authorized to sign the Renewal Application.”

Logie took over the chairmanship from Heacock in January. Not only did the board authorize the mayor to sign for the CAA, members also gave that right to Vice-Chairman David Frey and Secretary Birgit Klohs.

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