Mat-Su farmers settle with state over logo

Posted: Tuesday, April 01, 2008

JUNEAU - A heated four-year-old dispute over use of the bright blue, yellow and green "Alaska Grown" logo has been settled between a regional farm bureau and the state of Alaska.

The Matanuska-Susitna Chapter Alaska Farm Bureau has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount in damages to the state Division of Agriculture, according to Palmer farmer Arthur Keyes, the newly elected president of the Mat-Su chapter.

Keyes said the agreement also will allow the Mat-Su chapter to continue using the logo. The state had previously terminated that right. He said members voted 21-3 in favor of the agreement.

State officials were not available for comment on Monday, a state holiday.

The dispute started in 2004 when the Mat-Su chapter sought exclusive rights from the agriculture division to use the logo on promotional clothing.

The chapter said it had acquired the right from using the logo for over 20 years on apparel, such as T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats. It filed for a federal trademark on the logo in 2005, claiming the state had not properly protected use of the logo.

The state sued the Mat-Su chapter, saying it created the logo in 1986 and spent several hundred thousand dollars promoting it.

State officials said the logo is used statewide by about 340 companies, mostly on produce certified as having been grown in Alaska.

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