- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 11, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A co-founder of Burning Man, the annual six-day festival of self-expression that culminates in the torching of a 40-foot effigy on the salt flats of northern Nevada, has sued his ex-partners to strip them of ownership of the event’s name and logo and to place the rights to their trademarks in the public domain.

John Law, who helped transform a series of small bonfire parties on a San Francisco beach into a desert phenomenon that drew more than 39,000 last year, sued Burning Man board members Larry Harvey and Michael Mikel in federal court Tuesday.

Mr. Harvey and Mr. Mikel have both recently tried to claim sole ownership over Burning Man’s trademarks, violating an agreement the three signed after Mr. Law split with the organization in 1996, Mr. Law says.

“I decided to fight to keep anyone from having an exclusive right to capitalize on these brands,” Mr. Law wrote on his blog. “Burning Man belongs to everyone.”

Marian Goodell, a spokeswoman for the corporation that runs Burning Man, said Mr. Harvey and Mr. Mikel have agreed to go into arbitration in their own dispute over the rights to Burning Man’s trademarks.

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