Trademarking their territory.
“It happened to my family,” said Roxanne Donovan, whose sister runs Kites for a Cure, a family kite-flying event that raises money for lung cancer research. “They came after us ferociously with a big law firm. They said they own ‘cure’ in a name and we had to stop using it, even though we were raising money for an entirely different cause.”
And one that’s not nearly as well funded as breast-cancer research. But Komen goes after other breast-cancer charities too.
Sue Prom, who started a small dog sledding fundraiser for breast cancer called “Mush for the Cure” in Grand Marais, Minn., said she was shocked to hear from Komen’s lawyers this summer asking that she change the name of her event or face legal proceedings.
Don’t worry, mom-and-pop charities, Komen’s lawyer offers the following reassurance: “It’s never our goal to shut down a nonprofit, and we try very hard to be reasonable, but it’s still our obligation to make sure that our trademarks are used appropriately so there’s no confusion in the marketplace over where people’s money is going.”
Komen has more than two hundred registered trademarks. Hey, when you’re working in the lucrative marketplace of cancer-research charities, you have to cover all your bases.
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