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November 25, 2016 - 2:35pm

Entrepreneurs from Oakfield get front page treatment from the Wall Street Journal

posted by Howard B. Owens in MöbileSchlägen, Oakfield, business, news.

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A start-up in Oakfield made the front page of the The Wall Street Journal today (account required) as part of a story on a game that seems to be growing in popularity in some part of the country, even though it has been around a long time.

We've told you before about MöbileSchlägen, the portable version of a game that involves, traditionally, a tree stump, a nail, a hammer, and beer. MöbileSchlägen was invented -- they actually got a patent on the key technology -- by Marc Johnson, James Betters and Dan Mangus. Their big innovation was the sturdy stand that holds a stump-like piece of wood into which game players pound nails.

A reporter for The Wall Street Journal visited Oakfield a couple of days ago to learn more about the game and wrap mention of it into a story she was working on about the rise in popularity of Hammerschlagen, or Stump.  

The game has become popular enough, as reporter Rebecca Davis O'Brien notes, that there has even been a little legal wrangling over who owns the rights to it. Jim Martin, of Lake Elmo, Minn., asserts he owns the trademark for Hammer-Schlagen. According to the WSJ article, Martin has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a competitor, The Stump Company, and has also sent messages to Johnson and his partners. (He also contacted The Batavian demanding that we correct our previous story and include mention of his company and what he says are the true origins of the game.)

Johnson said their version of the game is gaining interest and they should have a product ready for market soon.

Also, here's a couple of photos Johnson supplied from the Oakfield Historical Society, from a company picnic for U.S. Gypsum in the 1950s, showing a similar game being played locally.

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Here's the company's promotional video:

Brian Graz
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Joined: Sep 18 2010 - 4:57pm

How come the participants aren't required to wear safety goggles? Has Trump defunded OSHA?

BTW, I remember my Dad participating in the nail driving contest at the Gypsum picnic, when I was very young.

Jim Martin
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Respectfully, Jim Martin does not personally own the rights to the Hammer-Schlagen® family of trademarks: they are owned by WRB, Inc. We (WRB, Inc. of Minnesota) are the source and origin of our Hammer-Schlagen® entertainment service. Our predecessor of right started it in Stillwater, MN several decades ago. Please note that the images above depict our very well-recognized trade dress (which is our primary trademark, under which we continue to operate throughout the United States).

It is our understanding that a patent for a physical device does not give a person any legal right to manufacture it. Instead, it is our understanding that the patent gives such a person the right to prevent others from manufacturing the device. And, it most definitely does not convey any right to counterfeit trade dress. Please be further advised that the subjects of your article expressly identify us in their patent as the source of the Hammer-Schlagen® family of trademarks, which includes our trade dress that you depict above. (Take careful notice that neither our trade dress nor our Hammer-Schlagen® trademark is not in use at the US Gypsum picknic).

If you would please be so kind as to correct the factually incorrect information in your article, it would be appreciated very much.

Ed Hartgrove
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Joined: Dec 20 2012 - 11:54am

Hmm!, there's only one appropriate comment I can think of, at this time, which would be, "And what say you? "

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