Towns Launch Cold War Over Who's More Inhospitable

| Tue Feb. 20, 2007 2:21 PM EST

This week's crazy intellectual property showdown: International Falls, Minnesota, and Fraser, Colorado, are in a spat over who legally owns the title "Icebox of the Nation." Fraser reportedly gave IF permission to use the title, which it trademarked. But then IF let the trademark lapse, and Fraser has filed to get it back. Part of the reason the towns are claiming to be the most inhospitable place in the continental U.S.? It's a great marketing tool: Fraser renamed its main drag after the antifreeze company that gave residents a free supply one year, and Goodyear once provided snow tires for every car in town. This spat is reminiscent of the 13-year fight over the title "Surf City," one of many examples of IP overkill MJ collected last year. Can't they just settle this with a snowball fight?