Arizona vacationers who are visiting Yosemite National Park in the near future may notice some name changes. The park’s current concessionaire is claiming that it owns the park’s village and hotel names, and if the park chooses a different vendor when the contract expires this year, it will owe the company $51 million to retain the naming rights.
Delaware North Companies, the park’s concessionaire, claims it owns names such as Curry Village and Ahwahnee Hotel. Meanwhile, Yosemite officials claim that the names go back to 1899 and 1927, respectively.
However, the park will likely give in to the concessionaire’s demands and rename the locations in order to avoid dragging on the business dispute even further. Plus, with the contract expiring soon, park officials don’t want bidders to have to pay extra for the names.
Delaware North Companies claims that when it first acquired the contract in 1993, it was forced to buy all of the park’s assets and liabilities. This included naming rights and other intangible assets, so it’s understandable that the company would want to sell them back should it no longer have the contract.
However, it is unknown if Delaware North Companies, which has had the contract for the past 21 years, will even bid again this year. The lucrative contract – one of the largest among the national parks – brings in a gross revenue of at least $120 million annually.
A contract dispute can occur when the terms of the relationship between a company and a vendor are unclear. If the company was required to purchase the naming rights, then it would make sense that they would own the names unless the contract says otherwise. This particular case also involves trademarks and intellectual property and could be a challenging case to resolve should it go to court.
Source: Tucson.com, “Dispute could lead to name changes at Yosemite” Jan. 2, 2015
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