Stewart neighbors pan town trademark plan


KATONAH, N.Y. -- Martha Stewart's plan to trademark a line of furniture named for her new hometown has riled some of her neighbors.

Stewart's "Katonah Collection," which includes a four-post bed and a tailored English sofa, is already on sale, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. has a trademark pending for the name, The Journal News reported Friday.

"We don't think it's a good idea for her to assert trademark rights over a name that's been in use as a place name since 1852," said William O'Neill, co-president of the Katonah Village Improvement Society. Katonah is named for a 17th-century Indian chief.

Deirdre Courtney-Batson, vice president of the Katonah Historical Museum, said she doesn't mind that Stewart uses the name for furniture, but doesn't understand the need to trademark it.

"It's our town," she said. "I don't understand all the legal implications. Perhaps it's not a problem, but, right now, I'm very uncomfortable with it."

Owner Sam Rogers of the Katonah Wine and Liquor Store is worried that a trademark could prevent a furniture store from using "Katonah" in its name.

"I don't think the word 'Katonah' should be trademarked," he said. "I don't think that someone should actually own the word 'Katonah."'

Diana Pearson, a spokeswoman for Stewart's company, said, "Martha Stewart, number one, loves Katonah; number two, seeks to honor the town and the hamlet by using the word Katonah."

Pearson said Stewart "expects that her neighbors feel similarly that it's a beautiful place that deserves recognition."

Katonah is about 40 miles north of midtown Manhattan. The Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp. said the average house price there was $912,000 in 2006.

Stewart, 65, lived in Westport, Conn., for more than 30 years.