Friday, 12 January 2007

Cliffs of Moher - planning or branding

Gordon Deegan writing in The Irish Times tells us its the branding, not the planning of the Cliffs of Moher, that's the important thing ...

A ROW has erupted between two of the agencies involved in the €31.5m Cliffs of Moher visitor centre over registering the Cliffs of Moher brand as a trademark.
Less than four weeks away from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern officially opening the centre, it emerged yesterday that a Shannon Development subsidiary has lodged a formal objection against an application by Clare Co Council to register a Cliffs of Moher brand as a trademark on an EU-wide basis.
The subsidiary, Shannon Castle Banquets and Heritage Ltd (SCBH Ltd) also has an application before the Irish Patents Office from last November to register the Cliffs of Moher.
Shannon Development are former partners of the council in the project and SCBH Ltd is leasing shop space from the council in the new centre. The council's project leader for the Cliffs centre, Ger Dollard, yesterday described Shannon Development's approach as 'extraordinary'.
He said: "The Council had not been advised by Shannon Heritage or Shannon Development of their intention to lodge an objection to our application for a trademark despite meeting at chief executive/county manager level on other issues relating to the project early in December.
"As the council is the public authority for the county and is the body who has invested over €31m in improving facilities and site management at the site, I cannot comprehend how another party could justify opposing our application for this particular trademark.
A Shannon Development spokesman said yesterday: "Shannon Development/Shannon Heritage registered the Cliffs of Moher as a trademark many years ago, to allow use of the name on merchandise sold at the company's commercial outlet at the Cliffs of Moher, and has continued to pay an annual fee to retain ownership and use of the trademark.
"Shannon Development/Shannon Heritage would be happy to share its Cliffs of Moher trademark with Clare Co Council, if this arrangement was acceptable to the Trade Mark Office, but would object to the council having sole ownership of the trade mark which could undermine our long-held commercial position at the Cliffs," he said.

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