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Martha Stewart reaches compromise over usage of New York village name as trademark

Martha Stewart's dispute with some of her neighbors over her bid to trademark the name of their tony New York village has been resolved: Katonah furniture, OK; Katonah paint, no way.

Stewart's company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., has agreed to seek a "Katonah" trademark only for furniture, mirrors, pillows and chair cushions. Those opposing the trademark have agreed not to challenge that application.

Stewart's Katonah furniture line is already for sale but not yet trademarked.

Stewart agreed to drop trademark applications for additional products, "such as hardware, paint, lighting and home textiles," according to a statement issued by Stewart's company, the Katonah Village Improvement Society and two Katonah stores.

Some residents of the hamlet in Westchester County, where Stewart has a 153-acre (62-hectare) estate, objected to her using the name Katonah for commercial purposes and feared the trademark would harm existing businesses. Some American Indians had also objected, because the village, 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of New York City, is named for a 17th-century chief.

Bill Tisherman, who was vice president of the Village Improvement Society when the complaint was lodged, said Wednesday, "Martha Stewart caved. That's my opinion. She gave up a huge chunk of what she was looking for and that's good for the future of this town."

Stewart's company would not comment beyond the statement, which was dated Nov. 2.

Stewart had said she was honoring Katonah's heritage by using the name. In the statement, all parties expressed "mutual appreciation" for the town.

She said the trademark would not interfere with the use of the name Katonah-based businesses and pledged to challenge use of the name only if "a product (like furniture) were branded with the name `Katonah' in a way that infringed the company's trademark rights, which could cause confusion for consumers."

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