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Pure Michigan Fear? No Way, Says Travel Office

GRAND RAPIDS (AP) - A haunted house is crossing the line into trademark infringement with its play on the state's Pure Michigan tourism campaign, the state's official travel office said.

The office notified The Haunt that a billboard and other marketing using "PureMichiganFear" isn't allowed, The Grand Rapids Press reported. The Halloween attraction is one of the Grand Rapids area's most popular haunted houses.

"My approach was to put something out there a little bit different to catch your eye," said Jim Burns, owner of The Haunt, which opened a 20-night run last weekend. "I personally did not realize that Pure Michigan was a trademark. I didn't think anything about it."

The billboard, which was scheduled to be up through late October, is expected to remain in place. Burns said he also used "PureMichiganFear" language on flyers, coupons and his website, but is making changes. A website using "PureMichiganFear" now re-directs to another website.

State officials, who have a process for people to use the Pure Michigan logo, were concerned about use of the trademarked phrase, according to Pure Michigan spokeswoman Michelle Grinnell. She said the agency contacted the owner since the process wasn't followed.

"We are not out there being the logo police, but when something comes to our attention then certainly we reach out," she said.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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