Grand, cultivated, iconic. Central Park is a household name, evoking New York charm and class.
And Donald Trump has been cashing in.
Pencil boxes, chandeliers, non-electric coffee percolators, trash cans and dozens of other seemingly random items, Trump has the exclusive right to brand them all Central Park.
"He personally had applied and received registrations for Central Park itself," said Jason Drangel, an intellectual property attorney.
Trump has been trademarking the words "Central Park" since 1991, reserving a name that belongs to all New Yorkers, without objections from the city or the Central Park Conservancy.Note in my debates with anti-IP advocates, I have always made the important distinction that Murray Rothbard also made, namely that independent discovery rather than "first to file" should be the foundation of intellectual property protection.
Consider Trump's Central Park furniture line, touted in a glossy 44-page catalog that mixes photos of the "elegant and rich" furnishings with glamour shots of the park...and Trump himself....
Records show that Trump is the single biggest private holder of Central Park trademarks. The art of these deals? They were a steal. Trump simply paid filing fees with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure exclusive rights to the Central Park name.
Thus, it is difficult to understand how in a libertarian society where intellectual property creations are protected, the words "Central Park" could be granted exclusivity to one individual or group. The words existed long before anyone now living could call them a creation of his own.
Certainly, "Trump Central Park" and even "Central Park Furniture" but "Central Park," itself, I don't think so. In Trump's case it, based on the story, it appears that his trademarks are generally more narrow then simply all rights to the words "Central Park," but the individual trademarks would have to be evaluated to determine how they would line up in a society where intellectual property creations are acknowledged and respected as property,
In any case, the NY1 story teaches us once again that Trump is a pretty shrewd dude.