2016-09-22 / Views

Hearts, minds differ on who can own M-22 symbol

No private individual should own the M-22 symbol.

We say that with much angst, as it’s a tribute to the Myers brothers that so many people think over-wise.

The Myers, after all, have promoted more than just their business model, which centers on the M-22 roadside symbol. Beyond being savvy marketers, they have contributed a portion of their sales to the Leelanau Conservancy and made donations to other worthy causes.

They’ve been community-minded, good citizens. We appreciate what they’ve accomplished with a concept, and their willingness to share.

State attorney general Bill Schuette, however, does not agree with that concept, which holds as its basis the right of someone to trademark and exclusively profit from a symbol created by the State of Michigan on behalf of all citizens.

Mr. Schuette issued an opinion in 2012 that the Myers could not hold exclusive rights to use the M-22 symbol. The Myers also claim that their rights to the symbol extend to all state highways whose icon holds the state highway design.

Just this month, Mr. Schuette backed his Attorney General’s opinion — which holds no authority to enforce — with a lawsuit.

He has an uphill battle as the Myers brothers now hold a trademark on the symbol and have built a multi-million business around its exclusive use.

Some folks say that the lawsuit resulted from politics, as well-connected clothing competitors would also like to use the state highway symbol.

We can’t prove or deny that assertion. But we can say that it does make sense for the state Attorney General to protect state property.

Our hearts go with the Myers brothers on this one, as we appreciate the business they’ve created. Among their assets is a store in Glen Arbor. And the M-22 design helps promote Leelanau County.

But our minds can’t help but question their trademark.

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There have been plenty of

There have been plenty of problems for entities threatened with legal action for use of the image. The Meyers' did not create, comission or contribute to its creation in any way. The M-22 sign is puplic property, period.

If someone has the vision and

If someone has the vision and creativity to do what the Myers brothers have accomplished, while creating NO problems for the state or any other entity, how about celebrating their success and otherwise leave them alone.