Martha Stewart's Neighbors Oppose Efforts to Trademark Hometown Name

A group of Martha Stewart's Westchester County neighbors has moved a step closer to opposing her efforts to trademark the name of her tony hometown, Katonah.

The Katonah Village Improvement Society voted on Monday to take whatever action it deems necessary to keep Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's from using the Katonah name for lines of furniture, paints and other homemaking products.

The society's vote allows the trademark committee to file formal opposition to Stewart's plans, and it authorized spending $200 toward legal costs.

"My personal feeling is that they are just waiting to see if we have the stomach to proceed to any degree (with opposition)," Bill Tisherman, vice president of the society, said at its meeting Monday night. "If we don't proceed, then we lose ... there's nobody else who's going to oppose it."

Katonah has until April 11 to oppose Stewart's plans before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Stewart told the village in January that she was inspired to trademark the Katonah name for a line of products by her 153-acre estate that consists of a farmhouse and stables.

John Cuti, an attorney for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, has said that Stewart's use of the Katonah name won't keep residents from using the name. He said it was quite common that placenames are used in trademarks, such as Nantucket Nectars or Philadelphia brand cream cheese.

Ron Romanowicz, president of the Katonah Chamber of Commerce, said village business owners are concerned about whether they will be able to use the hamlet name for their product lines if Stewart owns the trademark.

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 before she bought the Katonah estate in 2000 for $16 million.