Charitable causes can be worth a lot of money. Sunday’s New York Times contained an article about National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) and the prevalence of pink in the NFL and many other promotions put forth by the Susan G. Komen Foundation. There is seemingly no end to the reach of the pink color and ribbons.. According the Foundation’s CEO,rasing money “requires Komen to generate revenue from individual donors and corporate sponsors. And if that means promoting pink KitchenAid blenders, Nascar vehicles or Scotch tape dispensers, so be it.”
As there is a lot of money involved in these promotions, and the money and awareness they raise, the Foundation has wisely taken steps to protect a lot of intellectual property. It owns nearly 200 registered or pending trademarks with the USPTO. See below. Some believe that it has spent too much money on going after others for using pink or using “for the cure”, or that stopping others who are trying to do good for similar charitable causes is not necessary. [See links at the bottom for articles/posts on the topic.]
But since the foundation spent a lot of money to gain public trust and recognition of its trademarks, doesn’t it have the right to reap the fruits of its labor? In order to get those fruits, it may be necessary to eliminate any who also seek to capitalize on the brand. I acknowledge the issue is a difficult one and fair arguments can be made on both sides.
The pink ribbon appears everywhere in October – even on eggs. [Image from wellsphere.com]
Here are a few of the Komen Foundation’s registered trademarks:
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