Why the ALS Withdrew its Trademark Application

Originally posted 2018-11-19 11:18:48

By Chloe Coska | amdlawgroup.com

alsEveryone is aware of the Ice Bucket Challenge these days. The meme has gone viral on the internet and throughout the world. From celebrities to the girl next door, everybody has been doing the challenge in order to raise awareness to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease affecting the brain and spinal cord. The campaign so far has raised $94 million in less than a month.

After such a success the non-profit association ALSA, with allegedly the blessing of the families who initiated the challenge, had recently filed a trademark application. Two trademark applications were filed last Friday with the USPTO, to secure the terms “Ice Bucket Challenge” and “ALS Ice bucket challenge.” However, due a massive negative response from the public the non-profit Association is forced to withdraw the application.

The Association spokeswoman Carrie Munk made a statement on the association Facebook account: “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.”

On a legal basis, there are several potential weaknesses of such an application. For one, we do not know if ALS created the phrase or if it was the first to use it, the phrase is not necessarily associated with fundraising activities, and registering the phrase may have restrict its use for other charity causes.


Image credit: elitedaily.com

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