Boulder Junction Renews Musky Capital of the World Trademark

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I enjoy fishing in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.  When I first got married, many years ago, heading north was a tradition for summer fishing vacations.  Sadly, I got away from that for a while.  But the good news is that for the past several years, I've found my new home away from home. 

I've grown to love the Boulder Junction Area.  Now, I return two to three times a year.  The fishing is great and I know when I'm getting close when I see that sign on County Road M that says Welcome to Boulder Junction, The Musky Capital of the World.

This claim does not come easily.  Yet Boulder Junction lives up to it's claim.  I've taped TV shows in Boulder Junction showing my viewers that this truly is the Musky Capital of the World. 

This press release just came in from the Boulder Junction Chamber.  You may find it interesting, so I would like to share it with the readers of this blog...

After 70 years, Boulder's lakes continue to produce huge game fish.

February 8, 2011 (Boulder Junction, WI)--Anglers, guides and business owners in this gamefish Mecca can rest easy for another twenty years after the community successfully renewed its trademark as "Musky Capital of the World.

"Musky fishing is a big part of who we are as a community," said Theresa Smith, Executive Director of the Chamber. "Our business owners and the sportsmen and women who visit Boulder Junction know our community as the 'Musky Capital of the World.' We want to keep it that way."

The powerful gamefish known affectionately as Musky (also known as muskellunge, muskie, or Esox masquinongy) is a member of the pike family. Musky are noted for their tenacious fight, incredible size and magnificent leaping ability. The Department of Natural Resources refers to the musky as "the premier gamefish of Wisconsin's inland waters."

Boulder Junction is home to 194 crystal clear lakes within a nine-mile radius, and more muskies are caught each year in Boulder Junction waters than in any other similar sized area in the world, giving the community its longstanding claim as "Musky Capital of the World."

Boulder Junction officially received the trademark renewal from the US Patent and Trademark office on Tuesday, January 11. The trademark is good for ten years.

"It's a powerful symbol," Smith said. "When anglers come north they're looking for lakes and communities that have muskies. When these folks see that Boulder Junction is the 'Musky Capital of the World,' that lets them know right away where the best musky waters are."

A Long Road to Recognition

Like the musky, the battle-scarred history of the "Musky Capital of the World" moniker lurks beneath the surface for many in Boulder Junction. A long-simmering conflict with Sawyer County's Hayward was finally decided in 1971, but memories run deep in the Northwoods.

"The Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce has been fighting for this name for more than sixty years," Smith said. "Each time we renew our trademark, we're reminded of how hard our predecessors fought for it."

In the 1930s, a Chicago-based sports writer who regularly vacationed in the Boulder Junction area coined the phrase "The Musky Capital of the World" to describe his favorite fishing destination. For 12 years, local resorts picked up on the idea and used the epithet intermittently on promotional materials. In 1942, the newly formed Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce began using the title on all of its brochures and printed materials, as it has done ever since.

In 1950, Boulder Junction applied and received its first Registered Trademark certificate (#17132) from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. With the certificate of registration securely filed in the Chamber Office, the good people of Boulder Junction figured that the title was safely theirs, but the hard work of defending it was just beginning.

In 1955, Assemblyman Hutnik declared Hayward the "Musky Capital of the World" in a resolution, setting off a 15-year battle between the two communities.

Following Hutnik's declaration, Hayward embarked on a widespread use of the slogan. Visitors guides, the masthead of the Hayward newspaper, maps, individual resort brochures and even milk cartons from the local dairy declared that Hayward was the Musky Capital of the World.

After pointing out to the people of Hayward that Boulder Junction already held legal claim to the title, Boulder Junction requested that all references to the title be removed prior to product reprinting. Once more, the title seemed to be safe with Boulder Junction. But a group of Hayward area business organizations had other ideas.

In 1967, Boulder Junction applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office for federal registration of the trademark. Business owners in Hayward objected and claimed that Hayward, home to the largest musky on record at the time, was the rightful owner of the title. Between January 1967 and December 1970, Boulder Junction made eight applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office for registration of the title, but on each occasion Hayward appealed against issuance of the title.

Boulder Junction threatened legal action and demanded a hearing before the US Patent Office's Trade Mark Appeals Board to settle the issue. At last, on Jan. 22, 1971, the US Patent & Trademark Office entered a default judgment against Hayward, and announced that Boulder Junction would be issued a certificate of registration of the trademark: "Boulder Junction, The Musky Capital of the World."

With state and federal trademarks in hand, the Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce could rest easy, at least until the time comes to renew the title. This month's registration is the third renewal of the state granted trademark, first issued on April 18, 1950.

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