International Falls has iced its claim to be the "Icebox of the Nation."
This city on the Canadian border had been fighting the ski town of Fraser, Colo., for the legal right to the trademark.
International Falls claimed victory this week when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent the city attorney a certificate granting the community Reg. No. 3,375,139.
"I ran over to the attorney's office and kissed the certificate," Mayor Shawn Mason said Friday. "Fraser's actions had sent a chill down my spine."
Mason said more was at stake than bragging rights. She said International Falls has used the icebox title to market itself to industry as the nation's premier site for cold-weather testing.
We're just thrilled the title has been confirmed.International Fals City Administrator Rod Otterness
"We're just thrilled the title has been confirmed," City Administrator Rod Otterness said. "We'll wait until next week to notify them of their copyright infringement. If Fraser wants to call itself the Icebox of Colorado, we have no problem."
International Falls and Fraser have fought over the title before.
City Attorney Joe Boyle said International Falls can prove that it has used the moniker since 1948. And the city has photographic proof that its 1955 Pee Wee hockey team traveled to Boston with jackets saying, "The Icebox of the Nation."
In 1988, a meteorology professor at St. Cloud State University submitted an affidavit saying Fraser can't be the nation's icebox, "because 11 months out of the year its meat would thaw and its ice cream would melt, while throughout the winter all meat and ice cream would be safe in International Falls."
International Falls paid Fraser $2,000 in 1989 for dropping its claim to the title. But when the Minnesota community of 6,500 people failed to renew its trademark, the Colorado town of 1,000 jumped.
"They let it lapse and we thought, heck, if they don't want it, we do," Fraser Mayor Fran Cook said Friday. "This is the first I've heard of any resolution and I have to admit I'm surprised."
Cook said town offices were closed Friday because of bad weather, and with a 4-foot snowdrift in front of her garage, she hadn't been able to get to the town hall to see if Fraser had received any official notification.
Cook said little will change even if Fraser's lawyers confirm defeat.
"It's something we've always gotten a kick out of and it will not disappear from the old-timers' lingo," she said.
In the near term, Mother Nature is siding with International Falls.
"It's supposed to be 20-below with wind come Sunday," Mason said while celebrating at her city's Elks Lodge, toasting the chill with another frosty one.
The forecast for Fraser: sunny with highs in the mid-30s.