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This Lawsuit Can Be Found at 300.347

The owner of the Dewey Decimal System claims that a library-themed luxury hotel in New York is violating its trademark.

September 21, 2003|From Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ohio — The nonprofit library cooperative that owns the Dewey Decimal System has filed suit against a library-themed luxury hotel in Manhattan, claiming trademark infringement.

The Library Hotel, which overlooks the New York Public Library, is divided according to the classification system, with each floor dedicated to one of Dewey's 10 categories.

Room 700.003 includes books on the performing arts, for example, while room 800.001 has a collection of erotic literature.

In the lawsuit, lawyers for the Online Computer Library Center said the organization acquired the rights to the system in 1988 when it bought Forest Press, which published Dewey Decimal updates.

The center charges libraries that use the system at least $500 per year.

Melvil Dewey created his system -- used in 95% of all school libraries -- in 1873, but it is continually updated, with numbers assigned to more than 100,000 new works each year.

"A person who came to [the hotel's] Web site ... would think they were passing themselves off as connected with the owner of the Dewey Decimal Classification system," said Joseph Dreitler, a lawyer representing the center.

Hotel general manager Craig Spitzer and Online Computer Library Center spokeswoman Wendy McGinnis did not return phone messages Saturday seeking comment.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Columbus seeks triple the hotel's profits since its opening or triple the organization's damages, whichever is greater, from the hotel's owner.

Dreitler said Saturday he and the center do not yet know the size of the hotel's profits. The center, which is based in Dublin, is willing to reach an agreement with the owners of the hotel, he said.

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