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Trademark turmoil update April 30, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Web sites.

The controversy between Route 66 vendors, retailer Zazzle.com and a firm in the Netherlands that is claiming trademark ownership of the Route 66 shield morphed from aggravating to surreal.

It was reported a few days ago that Route66Licensing.com and a sister site, Tempting Brands.com, is claiming a trademark of “Route 66″ and its shield. Subsequently, Netherlands firm persuaded Zazzle.com to remove the listings of American vendors sellingRoute 66-related products on the website. However, Route 66 and the Route 66 exist in the public domain in the United States, and cannot be trademarked here.

The situation turned especially strange in the past 24 hours when it was learned that this image of the Route 66 ghost town of Spencer, Mo., by Mike Skidmore was removed by Zazzle after another infringement claim by Route66Licensing.com:

The part of the image that apparently ran afoul is the replica of the old Phillips 66 gas station sign. Route66Licensing.com either is claiming the Phillips 66 sign is a Route 66 sign, or a hypercautious Zazzle nixed the image without looking at it closely. Jim Ross, a Route 66 expert in Oklahoma, wrote in response:

Where are these Zazzle idiots from? Do they not realize that the shield pictured is a trademarked brand of Phillips Petroleum? If they are not going to  require any proof whatsoever of brand ownership from Route 66 Licensing, then we need to organize a boycott of  Zazzle as well. In fact, it might be a worthwhile to investigate whether Zazzle can be sued for violating laws of interstate commerce or unfair trade practices.

E-mails to Zazzle and Route66Licensing.com from Route 66 News have gone unanswered.

In the meantime, longtime New Mexico Route 66 advocate Johnnie Meier on Friday built stoproute66licensing.com as a way to fight back. he said in an e-mail:

We will construct the web site cataloging abuses by route66licensing.com.

We will provide well-researched and documented resource information on the shield image, Route 66, Mother Road and other identifiers claimed by route66licensing.com.

We will also expose the route66licensing.com tactics used to unethically register Route 66 identifiers as trademarks in foreign markets.

After a fact-finding period, we will be organizing aggressive action against route66licensing.com.

I’m convinced the folks at Zazzle are asleep at the switch, and these probably are isolated incidents. However, the problem has become so potentially serious that it’s time to put Zazzle and Route66Licensing.com on notice. The financial future of many Route 66 retailers could be at stake.

Kicks on the bricks April 29, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music, Road trips.

Well, this is charming …

The dancing is taking place on an old brick section of Route 66 near Auburn, Ill.

The Solar family is blogging its trip on the Mother Road.

Abandoned in Arizona April 29, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses.
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Here’s a video about two abandoned Route 66 places in Arizona — one is Pine Springs in Flagstaff, and the other is the Twin Arrows complex, which is actually starting to undergo some restoration. You may see a lot of images of Twin Arrows that you’ve never seen.

Looks like they made it April 28, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Road trips, Vehicles.
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The fellows in Cars for a Grand managed to drive that $1,000 Cadillac all the way on the Route 66 corridor from Chicago to Los Angeles, according to a news release this morning.

Chris and Jorge purchased the car on April 9th in Thomson, IL where it was reportedly kept in a barn and summer driven. After throwing down $1,000 in cash, the guys stopped at a local GM dealership for a tuneup and to make sure the car was safe for themselves and the other drivers along Route 66. They had a blowout in St. Louis and had to get a new set of tires, but all in all from Chicago to LA the total car cost was under $1400.

It’s obvious from this video and others that they stuck primarily to the interstates. But can you blame them for not wanting to attempt, say, the Mojave Desert, in a 38-year-old car?

Child actor in “The Grapes of Wrath” dies April 27, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies, People.

I missed this a few weeks ago, but Shirley Mills Hanson, 83, who portrayed a young Ruthie Joad in the 1940 classic film “The Grapes of Wrath,” died on March 31 from complications of pneumonia at a hospital in Arcadia, Calif., according to the Los Angeles Times.

Known during her acting career as Shirley Mills, she attended one of the big Route 66 festivals a few years ago and told the audience at the John Steinbeck Awards her memories of the film’s production.

Much of the film was shot on Route 66, including a scene near Bridgeport, Okla., where the Joad family has to bury just-deceased Grandpa near the west end of the Pony Bridge. That’s the scene where Mills wept in a heart-rending fashion. Her acting earned much praise from director John Ford.

Kevin Hansel, the former president of the California Route 66 Association, gave us this memory of Mills Hanson:

I was fortunate to to have her at our annual 66 dinner as a special guest speaker and had the evening taped. My picture with her, all the autographed items, are a treasure. She was a down-to-earth person and so full of life. Ironic was the dinner was held at the Aztec in Monrovia, the same city she lived.

Mills Hanson’s death leaves Darryl Hickman, now 78, as the only surviving cast member from “The Grapes of Wrath.” Hickman, who portrayed a young Winfield Joad, gave his memories of the film a few years ago, and the video includes a scene with Mills:

(Hat tip: Kevin Hansel)

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