LITTLETON, COLO. - Colorado's got 1,876 problems, but a trademark ain't one.
That's because an apparel company in Littleton owns the trademark to "1876," otherwise known as the year Colorado was born.
"We own a number. 1876 is really just about celebrating Colorado and making gear for people who love it," said Smirk Creative President Nick Baumgart. "We love the state so much that we wanted to make something that wasn't just a flag on a shirt, but that spoke to what makes Colorado awesome."
How can someone own a number? It's not exactly complete ownership of everything "1876."
"We own a brand and we own a name. Nike was a Greek God, and now we know that that's a shoe company, right? And 1876 was a number, and now we know that that's an apparel company that celebrates Colorado and Colorado history," said Baumgart. "We just explored if it was available. It was. We did all the necessary paperwork and all the due diligence we needed to, and we got the local and national trademarks on it."
The federal trademark lists "1876" for "coats, footwear, hats, jackets, lingerie, pants, sweaters, sweatshirts, swimwear and t-shirts."
"We have never pushed legal action against anybody, and we don't intend to. There's a lot of stuff out there that says 1876, even stuff that you could theoretically think conflicts, but we have no interest in going after that unless it's egregious, or if they're clearly trying to do something sneaky."
The trademark does not give Baumgart's company carte blanche on apparel. The University of Colorado seal has "1876" in the seal, and the seal is sold on CU apparel.
"CU, or a great example also is Deadwood, South Dakota, they were founded in 1876. You can buy little shot glasses in Deadwood that say as much," said Baumgart. "If you are trying to profit or make your own, kind of, creative vision off of the vision of 1876 and it's not part of something else, if it's not part of when your school was established, or your state was established, and you're just trying to make an 1876 thing, then that's when that copyright comes in and we can protect that."
The official 1876 apparel is expanding inside Willow, a downtown Littleton boutique. He hoped to have his section of the store ready to go by today, Colorado Day, but it will open in what's being called an "1876 Basecamp" on September 2.
"We have grand visions. We'd like to see this as a national brand that people love, but maybe they don't know it's because it's Colorado, but everybody who's from here would understand that's what it is," said Baumgart.
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