December 6, 2010

Seniors mull over trademark license fee at Leisure World

Residents of Leisure World in Silver Spring might be forced to abandon the long-standing name of "active adult" community and its landmark steel globe if they aren't willing to pay for the right to use them. Leisure World has been a Montgomery County fixture for 44 years, and its 8,500 residents are considered one of Maryland's most potent political forces.

But the daughter of Leisure World's developer says her company owns the trademark to the globe and name. After providing more than 40 years of free use, the company needs to protect its rights to the brand, which earns fees from real estate agents around the country who advertise themselves as "Leisure World specialists," she says. Now the Leisure World board of directors is surveying residents to determine whether they want to pay a licensing fee or choose a new name. Both options would cost the community money, a recent letter to residents said, including $35,000 already spent in legal fees.

"We have a 45-year investment in the name," said Marian Altman, 65, chairwoman of Leisure World's board of directors.

Sure, she's heard the jokes about "Seizure World." Still, Altman said, "It's known across the state, especially with the politicians. . . . In Annapolis, they know Leisure World votes." SOURCE: Washington Post

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