Route 66 News

Trademark turmoil update

The controversy between Route 66 vendors, retailer 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 and a sister site, Tempting, is claiming a trademark of “Route 66″ and its shield. Subsequently, Netherlands firm persuaded 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

The part of the image that apparently ran afoul is the replica of the old Phillips 66 gas station sign. 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 from Route 66 News have gone unanswered.

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

We will construct the web site cataloging abuses by

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

We will also expose the 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