Martha Stewart, neighbors in trademark flap

Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart poses in the "Katonah" model home at the Hampton Oaks subdivision outside of Fairburn, Ga., last year. A group of Stewart's Westchester County neighbors has moved a step closer to opposing her efforts to trademark the name of her tony hometown, Katonah, N.Y.Ric Feld / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

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

The Katonah Village Improvement Society voted Monday to take whatever action it deems necessary to keep Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia 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 improvement society, said at its Monday night meeting. “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, 65, lived in Westport, Conn., for more than 30 years before she bought the Katonah estate in 2000 for $16 million.

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

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 for placenames to be 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.