May 23, 2011
Hollywood Chamber Responds to Proposed Wellywood Sign
In March 2010, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, holder of the trademark to the world-famous Hollywood Sign, began receiving press inquiries about a proposed creation of a sign at the Wellington, New Zealand, airport that would mimic the Hollywood Sign.
In response to the proposal, the Chamber’s attorney sent a letter dated March 12, 2010 to Steven Fitzgerald, CEO of the Wellington Airport (WIAL). The Chamber affirmed its rights to the Hollywood Sign trademark and urged the Airport Authority to seek permission from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, if it was determined to proceed with the proposed sign.
On March 17, 2010, the Chamber received a letter from Mike Brown, Airport Planner in Wellington, acknowledging receipt of Chamber letter. Mr. Brown stated that WIAL would consider the issues raised and would respond shortly.
Since no further correspondence was received, and with reports of strong opposition from the Wellington community, the Chamber assumed that WIAL had dropped plans for the sign. On May 20, the Chamber learned through media inquiries that WIAL announced that it is going forward with a sign. In response to press inquiries, Chamber President & CEO Leron Gubler has issued the following statement:
“The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is disappointed to learn that WIAL is moving forward with the construction of a Wellywood Sign. As a matter of courtesy, we would have expected at a minimum a response from the Airport authority as they had promised. We believed the project was abandoned. We will now again refer this to our legal counsel for advice.”
“The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce saved the Hollywood Sign years ago, set up a Trust to protect and to maintain it, licenses use of its image to fund the Trust, and is responsible for its continued existence as an iconic symbol of the U.S., if not the global entertainment industry. We are not without a sense of humor, nor without legal rights. We hope that if the Wellington Airport wants to mimic our Sign in this fashion, it will proceed in cooperation with us and will recognize that the holder of the rights to the Sign and the party responsible for its continued existence is a nonprofit entity that works hard to raise funds so that the Sign even exists to be mimicked.”
“We hope that this time our overture to WIAL to that end will be responded to in like spirit. Otherwise, the lawyers can sort it out, but that seems a shame, particularly in regard to a project that appears to be controversial in Wellington already.”