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A group of Kansas City boosters claims that Cal State San Marcos has ripped off the name of its website and won't give it back. The Kansas City Area Development Council, which touts the area to high-tech businesses, claims that it trademarked the name of its web site, SmartCities, way back in 1994. Since then, it claims, it's busted several interlopers and forced them to change names. But not San Marcos. Bernard Hinton, a professor at the business school and president of the university's Center for Decision Making, says he won't give in. "We're a nonprofit organization focused on building an electronic environment. I don't believe anyone could confuse Kansas City and San Diego," he told the Kansas City Star. Besides, Hinton added, "We are a totally volunteer effort, our total assets are less than $500." The Midwesterners have fired off a letter from their lawyers. If that doesn't work, they say they'll sue. "We have a significant investment in our Internet site and the 25 to 30 communities linked to it," claims Kansas City's Bob Marcusse. "Having another site on the Internet presents an opportunity for confusion we don't want. We need a clear channel of communication." Counters Hinton: "This is without foundation. It's a publicity thing on their part."

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