ALS Association Responds To Public Outcry; Withdraws Trademark Application On Ice Bucket Challenge

from the a-bit-late,-but-good-for-them dept

Yesterday we wrote about the ALS Association trying to trademark “ice bucket challenge” despite having absolutely nothing to do with the ice bucket challenge or its rise to viral fame. A lot of other news sites also wrote about the story, and there was quite an uproar on Twitter. At first, the ALS Association defended the move claiming that it only did so “after seeing many examples of unscrupulous profiteers trying to drive revenue to themselves, instead of the fight against ALS.” However, a little while ago, the ALS Association reached out to us (and via their Twitter feed, it appears they’re trying to respond to pretty much everyone) to say that it has withdrawn the trademark application:

The ALS Association filed for these trademarks in good faith as a measure to protect the Ice Bucket Challenge from misuse after consulting with the families who initiated the challenge this summer. However, we understand the public?s concern and are withdrawing the trademark applications. We appreciate the generosity and enthusiasm of everyone who has taken the challenge and donated to ALS charities.

As many people pointed out, this seemed like yet another example of lawyers stepping in to tell people what they can do (or, at least can try to do) without anyone ever bothering to think about whether or not they should do it. At least the ALS Association realized how bad this was eventually and withdrew the applications. Not everything needs to be owned. If people are abusing the Ice Bucket Challenge, there are ways to deal with that, including public shaming. Like the public shame that convinced the ALS Association to withdraw its trademark application.

Extra kudos to Erik Pelton, the trademark lawyer who originally spotted the application, and was vocal in explaining why it was a bad idea for the ALS Foundation.

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Comments on “ALS Association Responds To Public Outcry; Withdraws Trademark Application On Ice Bucket Challenge”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Just a couple of things

It’s good – it’s great – that they walked back on this one. Maybe they can sober up whoever had that brain fart and show them the door.

Any 20something could have told them internet memes have the half-life of a submarine sandwich at a fat camp – trying to trademark it was just stupid.

I guess no one asked “the families who initiated the challenge” where they came up with the idea – absolutely NO ONE owns memes.

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