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out to us (and via their Twitter feed, it appears they're trying to respond to pretty much everyone) to say that it has withdrawn the trademark application: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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:37pm

    At least they have more sense than the Susan G Korman(sp) bastards do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:43pm

    Re:

    Actually, it's probably a good thing that you spelled it like they don't. They want their name used in print only if you are writing them a check.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 12:56pm

    Misuse??! Seriously? That's like saying a hashtag is misused. What utter nonsense. They just wanted to capitalized on it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re:

    I do not contribute to Susan K for reasons like this.

    Or most other "Charities" that do immoral or corrupt shit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2014 @ 2:11pm

    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.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Just a couple of things

    Maybe they can sober up whoever had that brain fart and show them the door.

    Firing someone for a single mistake would be a stupid way to run an organization.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    John A Damgaard III (profile), Aug 29th, 2014 @ 8:47pm

    Direct TV

    If we are going to watch commercials,
    then we should receive free service.

    If we are going to pay for service,
    then we should not have to watch
    commercials.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 2:30am

    Re: Re: Just a couple of things

    Thats what the police union said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 5:28am

    Re:

    I think what they were getting at was they were trying to prevent another company from trademarking it and being total assholes with it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Just a couple of things

    Because filing a stupid trademark application is the same as beating the shit out of people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Reality bites, Aug 30th, 2014 @ 7:18pm

    Lawyers are always wrong...... they are just built that way.

    Expecting a lawyer to be human is like expecting a zealot not to be crazy..... not going to happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Eldakka (profile), Aug 31st, 2014 @ 11:43pm

    Maybe they should have trademarked:

    "The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge", with it's scope/market limited to raising money for ALS?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2014 @ 5:46am

    The role of a lawyer is supposed to embrace both that of advocate and counselor. It appears to be the case that the ALS' counsel abrogated the latter.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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