Breast Cancer Charity Bullying Other Charities Over Trademark

from the for-the-cure dept

A few months back we had a few submissions over some claims by the "Susan G. Komen for the Cure" operation was being a trademark bully, and threatening other charities that were using the color pink. SGK is the big name in raising money for breast cancer research, but a new article highlights how it's also spending over a million dollars a year being a trademark bully: specifically going after anyone else who uses the phrase "for the cure" or "for a cure" as part of their own charitable fundraising. The organization claims that it "needs" to do this to protect its trademark, but as we've pointed out time and time again, that's simply not true. First, you could argue that raising money for charity is not "use in commerce" and thus not deserving of a trademark. On top of that, the phrase "for the cure" certainly sounds descriptive, and again perhaps doesn't deserve a trademark

But, even assuming that the trademark itself is valid, there are all sorts of ways it could deal with other charities using that phrase without acting like a legal bully. It could simply agree to license the mark at no cost to other legitimate charities. SGK's claim, of course, is that it doesn't want the phrase to get sullied by unscrupulous organizations, but that doesn't mean it needs to pull out the legal guns when a legitimate charity comes along. Just let them use the damn phrase, and let everyone help raise money for charity, rather than legal bills.

Filed Under: breast cancer, charity, for the cure, trademark
Companies: susan g. komen

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Dec 2010 @ 11:12am

    Owning color in a specific trademark

    First off, I believe that pink has been around longer than the Susan G Komen foundation.

    Also, I believe that T-Mobile has a trademark claim of the color combination (specifically the numbers) to Magenta. In their trademark registration, they claim RAL 4010, which (loosely) translates to CMYK 10/90/30/0, and color mark registration 395 52 630. Their trademark is based in more of a fact. They reference RAL, a German color-space system used to match the exact hue and shade of certain paints, similar to Pantone®.

    So I would like to know what color combination (specifically the numbers) of the flavor of "Pink" Susan G Komen has registered because they may be in trouble. You see, Owens-Corning also has a trademark on the use of pink for insulation and I think Owens-Corning may have been around a little longer and may desire to exercise it's trademark rights against the Susan G Komen Foundation. (See: In re Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., 774 F.2d 1116 (Fed. Cir. 1985)

    Tiffany & Co. has a claim for a certain blue color it uses for jewelry boxes (Pantone® 1837), and UPS has a trademark on brown (Pantone® 462C). Their claims remain quite specific.

    But Ownens-Corning already owns "PINK"

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