Can You Trademark Awareness Of A Disease?

from the someone's-trying dept

BoingBoing has the latest story of trademark insanity, where a "charity" focused on the rare, but apparently serious disease of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH), is trying to trademark the phrase "Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Awareness" and appears to be threatening other charities for using the phrase, and (according to this petition) has filed complaints to get fundraising stores shut down for using the phrase. The whole thing is so bizarre, and so far outside the purpose of trademark law that it's really difficult to understand how this issue could have gone as far as it has. But, you have to say one thing for the charity doing this: they have "raised awareness" of CDH.

Filed Under: awareness, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, trademark


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2009 @ 10:28am

    For crying out loud, why are you giving people the impression that this organization is trying to co-opt others from using the term CDH? They are trying to trademark the entire phrase as used in association with their specific charity, and make no claim as to the individual elements of the mark. People will still be able to freely use "CDH" and "awareness", as well as the phrase "CDH awareness" in a manner other than a trademark sense. For example, it would be totally legal for another organization to provide material including sentences such as "The primary purpose of our organization is to enhance CDH awareness.", "We want to enhace awareness of CDH.", etc. As John Stossel says, "Give me a break!"

    For example, you will quickly find about 230 different registered marks using "breast cancer" in association with other terms. Check out the USPTO trademark database if you harbor doubts. I am unaware of any crimp this has placed on others who establish organizations associated with breast cancer.

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