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
    Justin Hammack, 21 Dec 2010 @ 2:19am

    A Mistake

    Yeah, this news is disappointing. I think Susan G. Komen is making a mistake. They need to EMBRACE the copy-cats. It'll only make their cause stronger. There is no way that another cause will make up this sort of lost ground and usurp their actual brand identity.

    Susan G. Komen is succumbing to industrial era business tactics. It just doesn't work anymore, it's short sighted on their part. Oh well.

    As far as the money, that's just part of the game, whether it's this or that, charities don't always spend the money how everyone would want. (I'm sure there are people out there THRILLED the money is being spent to protect the trademark, whatever.)

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