Thanks for all your opinions, guys.
To those who were wondering about trademark issues before -- would have been nice had you voiced your opinion earlier. Honestly, it never crossed my mind that a guiding service in Seattle would mind if a DC all-volunteer group called itself the same name. To the contrary, there could be all sorts of possibilities for cool partnership -- at least in my naive mind -- but I obviously grew up in a very different mountaineering culture.
The issue for us (now I'm referring to Adam, Jared, and myself, who jointly dealt with this) was not so much the right of MMI to protect their trademark, but the manner in which they chose to exercise it. Perhaps it's because we view mountaineering not just as a business, but as a community. We obviously meant no harm, nor profited in any way. If you have a problem, just write to us that you want to discuss it. Why start the communication with a cease and desist letter?
Finally, as to whether MMI should be "blacklisted": It was our duty to inform you of what has transpired. We didn't go into much detail, only shared our overall impressions, as well as the outcome. As DCMM organizers, we do not feel that we want to do business with this firm, but every member as an individual may do whatever you please.
A personal remark: My experience with various guides over the past 15+ years has been overall very positive and many of them are my good friends now. And yet I've also had a few bad apples, who overreacted, overcharged, and otherwise overstepped, often because they took the narrowest view of mountaineering business, or were just not very smart/good at client relations. I will do everything to avoid such experiences in the future. After this incident with MMI, the requisite trust just isn't there. At the same time, if some of you feel that that MMI did nothing wrong and you still want to do business with them as individuals, please do as uou please. Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion of the matter.