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Who bought the geographical center trademark

By Staff | Oct 14, 2016

(Photo submitted) An undated exterior shot of Hanson's Bar in Robinson. The bar and town has laid claim to the Geographical Center of North America trademark.

Earlier this month, Rugby and Pierce County residents learned a bar in Kidder County bought the trademark to the Geographical Center of North America.

Patrons of Hanson’s Bar in Robinson, a town of 40 people just 80 miles south of Rugby, declared their town to be the geographic center. Shortly after that, Bill Bender, Robinson mayor and an owner of the bar, went onto the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website and found Rugby’s trademark expired.

“The community as a whole backs up Robinson’s claim as [the geographical center] when asked,” Bender said. “Hanson’s Bar patrons are proud of their hometown bar and are especially proud of Robinson. Some locals have a nickname for the town: ‘Paradise City.'”

In the 1930s, a publication from the United States Geological Survey listed that the geographic center of North America was in Pierce County, a few miles west of Devils Lake. The geographic center was determined to be a point on where the area’s surface would balance if it were placed on “a plane of uniform thickness.” Rugby built a 21-foot tall rock obelisk to mark it as the geographical center.

Bender and several Hanson’s Bar patrons disputed that.

“We used actual science, incorporating global warming, sea level rise and permafrost thawing to determine that the [geographical center] is actually almost directly under Hanson’s Bar,” Bender said.

Bar owners and patrons went through the process of acquiring the trademark, including raising money to buy it.

“We worked with the [Patent & Trademark office], followed all instructions, met all requirements to the letter and have a certificate issued formally by the United States government, specifically stating that we are officially owners of the trademark,” Bender said.

The City of Rugby is looking into what possible actions can be taken.

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