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'Last Best Place' slogan permanently protected

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Sen. Max Baucus says the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has agreed to permanently deny any trademark application for the well-known Montana slogan "Last Best Place."

The phrase was first popularized as the title of a 1988 anthology co-edited by writers William Kittredge and Annick Smith.

About a decade ago, Las Vegas businessman David Lipson sought exclusive rights to the term for his Resort at Paws Up in Montana's Blackfoot Valley, and for other businesses and products.

Current and former members of Montana's congressional delegation included language in appropriation bills each year to prohibit the Commerce Department from spending any money to approve a trademark. Each request was only effective for a year.

Baucus says Friday's announcement is a permanent ruling that will keep the phrase from being used commercially.

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