A Hauppauge-based clothing manufacturer is free to trademark the name of a popular Montauk surfing beach after reaching a settlement with East Hampton Town.
Seena International filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2013 to trademark its Ditch Plains logo used on hoodies, T-shirts and other items. The town soon after filed its opposition to the trademark application, claiming the trademark would prevent other local businesses from using the term, which is commonly printed on souvenirs in Montauk T-shirt and gift shops.
The town dropped its opposition in an April 2 agreement signed by Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and Jatinder Dhall, the CEO of Seena International, who is known professionally as Ricky Singh.
In exchange, Seena grants local companies a non-exclusive license to sell Ditch Plains-themed merchandise in the town. Local merchants can apply for a sublicense from the town to sell the goods, said Ted Weitz of the Manhattan intellectual property law firm Ferdinand IP, which was hired in November to represent the town in the matter. He characterized the issue as unique.
“It’s because East Hampton is such a well-known place, a mark like Ditch Plains does carry extra value,” said Weitz, a part-time Springs resident. “A mark like Hoboken, people aren’t rushing out to register. We’re sort of in a special case.”
The town must pay Seena $1 per year for 50 years for the license, according to the agreement.
Van Scoyoc could not be reached for comment.
Singh’s attorney, Todd Gabor of Cedarhurst, described his client’s apparel as hip hop-themed with a contemporary bent. He said the clothes are available in major department stores but declined to say where. He plans to call the brand “Ditch Plains by Ricky Singh,” Gabor said.
“[In settlements], either both parties are unhappy or happy,” he said. “In this case both parties are happy.”
Montauk Chamber of Commerce executive director Laraine Creegan said members of the organization hadn’t discussed the issue with local merchants, but noted the name Ditch Plains is historically inaccurate, but somehow stuck over the years.
“It’s funny,” she said, “The historical original name is Ditch Plain.”