Keeping our eyes and ears open…..

Category Archives: Lawsuits

Hubris for the Cure

Title: Hubris for the Cure

Author: Kathi Kolb

Publication: The Accidental Amazon

Publication Date: January 22, 2011

“Frankly, I’d rather not have to write this post at all. But despite all that has been written regarding Susan G. Komen’s attempts to prevent other charities from using the phrase, “for the cure,” I still don’t get it. I just don’t understand what they are trying to achieve, nor do I comprehend their apparent failure to understand why so many of us in the breast cancer community have found it distressing and have yet to feel that Komen has addressed the issue in any meaningful way. And that’s why I’m writing this. Although I’d rather write about something more immediately germane to those of us with breast cancer, I feel compelled to remind Susan G. Komen that we would all feel better served by them if they would demonstrate better manners, priorities, teamwork and stewardship.”

Link to Full Article

Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Sells Out the Pink to Get the Green

Title: Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Sells Out the Pink to Get the Green

Author: Gayle Sulik

Publication: Pink Ribbon Blues blog

Publication Date: January 14, 2011

“In response to increased publicity surrounding Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s questionable trademark and marketing activities, the organization published an official statement on its website, titled: “Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Sees Trademark Protection as Responsible Stewardship of Donor Funds.”

According to the statement, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® has never sued other charities or put other non-profits out of business, and the organization does not have plans to do so in the future. Apparently knitters, sandwich makers, and kite fliers who want to raise money for breast cancer or other causes should breathe easier now! Of course, there are many ways to squeeze out organizations, large and small, and Komen’s high profile, clout, and overflowing coffers work in conjunction with legal teams, cease and desist orders, and polite suggestions to encourage a political and economic climate in which only the wealthiest survive.”

Link to Full Article

Poor Pink Goliath

Title: Poor Pink Goliath

Author: Gayle Sulik

Publication:  Pink Ribbon Blues blog

Publication Date: January 7, 2011

“Special correspondent to Oncology Times, Eric Rosenthal, wrote an article titled, “Komen ‘For the Cure’ Trademark Protection Ignites Ire of Some Breast Cancer Bloggers,” that discussed some of the recent concerns, particularly in the blogosphere, about Komen For the Cure’s trademark issues and marketing activities.

The article gives brief mention to other issues about the organization, namely the Komen-KFC partnership and the pink “buckets for the cure” campaign, but the article focuses specifically on two blogs written in early December about Komen’s actions to secure its trademarks. Laura Bassett’s “Susan G. Komen Foundation Elbows Out Charities Over Use Of The Word ‘Cure’” in The Huffington Post and Alicia Staley’s “Lawsuits for the Cure” on WEGO Health, along with the hundreds of comments they elicited from readers, question Komen’s efforts to police its trademarks (i.e., the phrase “for the cure”). In the article, Rosenthal remarks that following the Bassett/Staley postings, he spoke with Komen officials and Ms. Staley about the issue. He did not mention why he did not speak with the other blogger, Ms. Bassett, or with any of the others who have voiced concerns about Komen’s actions.

I was hoping for a reasoned analysis of the trademark issue, perhaps even a discussion of what is at stake when a charity organization grows large enough to have the capacity to function almost as a corporate entity itself.”

Link to Full Article

Suing for the Cure?

Title: Suing for the Cure?

Author: Kathi Kolb

Publication: The Accidental Amazon

Publication Date:  January 4, 2011

“Justice or Just Sh!t?
About a year ago, I applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register the name of this blog.  Turned out to be an exercise in futility.  They do try, the USPTO, I’ll give them that.  They provide instructions, videos, fact sheets, and a database you can search to see if someone else has already trademarked or copyrighted a certain phrase or logo design.  Somehow, I managed to slog my way through the process, submitted my application, paid my fee (which was NOT cheap), and several months later, was turned down.  Then I started getting emails from lawyers who offered (for another fee) to plead my case for me.  I did a little more research, and concluded that, like other government application processes, such as the hoops some of my patients jump through trying to get disability status, they just automatically turn everyone down the first time they apply.   It’s a test, I believe, to see if you really, really do have cerebral palsy or a unique blog name, or are just some weasel trying to scam the system.  If that is the intent, I’m afraid that it doesn’t work very well, because it just makes life much more difficult for anyone who really is disabled, as well as for someone like me, a mere cancer survivor just trying to get the word out.  In my cynical moments, I think perhaps the whole set-up is a scam that rewards lawyers.

Is it any wonder, then, that the United States of America has become the United States of Litigation?  In one of the latest installments in what could be deemed “The Saga of the Troublesome Torts,” the August 5, 2010 edition of the Wall Street Journal reported that the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a charity which raises money to fund programs and research for breast cancer, was suing several other, smaller charities and organizations over the use of the phrase, “for the cure,” in their names or event slogans, as well as the use of the color pink.  One of these organizations used the phrase, “Kites for the Cure” to raise money for lung cancer by holding an event in which participants made and flew colorful kites to generate donations.  The small group refused to roll over and eventually reached a compromise to ensure that future advertising would include the words “lung cancer” in conjunction with the words “for the cure” to mitigate confusion.”

Link to Full Article

Komen ‘For the Cure’ Trademark Protection Ignites Ire of Some Breast Cancer Bloggers

Title: Komen ‘For the Cure’ Trademark Protection Ignites Ire of Some Breast Cancer Bloggers

Author: Eric T. Rosenthal

Publication: Oncology Times

Publication Date: December 31, 2010

“It isn’t always easy being perceived as the 800-pound gorilla or Goliath in the world of breast cancer advocacy, especially when that position can make for a very large and vulnerable target for criticism from the blogging Davids out there with virtual slingshots.

Early in December, just as the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium was getting under way, The Huffington Post published an article charging that Susan G. Komen for the Cure was “elbowing out” other charities and events over use of the word “cure.”

The author, Laura Bassett, wrote that “in addition to raising millions of dollars a year for breast cancer research, fundraising giant Susan G. Komen for the Cure has a lesser-known mission that eats up donor funds: patrolling the waters for any use by such organizations that use any variation of ‘for the cure’ in their names.”

Link to Full Article

The Battle “for the Cure” – The Phrase, That is

Title: The Battle “for the Cure” – The Phrase, That is

Author: Gayle Sulik

Publication: Oxford University Press blog

Publication Date: December 20, 2010

“Laura Bassett wrote a scathing essay in Huffington Post about Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s legal dealings to win control over the phrase “for the cure.” According to Bassett, “Komen has identified and filed legal trademark oppositions against more than a hundred…charities, including Kites for a Cure, Par for The Cure, Surfing for a Cure and Cupcakes for a Cure – and many of the organizations are too small and underfunded to hold their ground.”

Why would the largest, best funded, most visible breast cancer organization put so much energy (and allegedly a million dollars per year) into trademarking common language like “for the cure”? Answer: To control the breast cancer brand. Indeed the cause of breast cancer has transformed from an important social issue to a brand name with a pink ribbon logo. The brand virtually guarantees consumption, revenues, advertising, and heightened visibility. Dominating the breast cancer brand would solidify the organization’s position in pink ribbon culture and in the marketplace it feeds.”

Link to Full Article

Lawsuits for the Cure

Title: Lawsuits for the Cure

Author: Alicia Staley

Publication:  wegoHealth

Publication Date: December 8, 2010

As a breast cancer survivor, nothing’s more infuriating than reading a story on how the Susan G. Komen Foundation actively pursues lawsuits against smaller foundations and individuals using the term “for the cure” in events or promotional materials. “Kites for the Cure”. “Dancing for the Cure,” “Dog Parade for the Cure.” Komen’s got them on their radar. Honestly, don’t we ALL have better things to do… like find a CURE for cancer instead of chasing after small time charities?

Link to Full Article

Komen Lawsuit Points Out Charity Branding Issues

Title: Komen Lawsuit Points Out Charity Branding Issues

Author: Philanthropy Today

Publication: The Chronicle of Philanthropy

Publication Date: August 6, 2010

“Susan G. Komen for the Cure has taken legal action against a host of other charities that have added “for the cure” to their names and has issued warnings to charities to refrain from using the color pink, Komen’s signature hue, in conjunction with the word “cure,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

In the years since the leading breast-cancer charity began using “for the cure” to raise money, many other charities have sought to add those words to their names. The lawsuit has become emblematic of the increasingly competitive nature of fund-raising among charities.”

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Charity Brawl: Nonprofits Aren’t So Generous When a Name’s at Stake

Title: Charity Brawl: Nonprofits Aren’t So Generous When a Name’s at Stake

Author: Clifford M. Marks

Publication: Wall Street Journal

Publication Date: August 5, 2010

“As the leading breast-cancer charity, Susan G. Komen For the Cure helped make “for the cure” a staple of the fund-raising vernacular.

The slogan is so popular that dozens of groups have sought to trademark names incorporating the phrase. Among them are “Juggling for a Cure,” “Bark for the Cure,” and “Blondes for the Cure.””

Link to Full Article