Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Susan G. Komen Foundation spends $1 million/year to protect its 200 trademarks?

Although the Huffington Post and others broke the news in 2010, I first heard about this concerning information from a Facebook friend (and friend of my sister).

Apparently, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has been spending nearly $1 million a year to pursue legal action against smaller charities and organizations that use the term "for the cure" or "for a cure" or even use the color pink in their advertising.

Mike and I have given plenty of money to the Komen foundation over the years. (Hope I won't get sued for trademark infringement for not using their full name!) I have no patience for stuff like this...why should they spend donor $ to sue other nonprofits who are all trying to raise money to fight cancer? It reminds me of the time that one environmental group fundraiser came to the door and I told him we'd just given to some other environmental organization, and he started telling me how they were a much better organization. Sorry--you just lost my donation. When there's a good cause, don't fight your fellow activists!

The Oxford University Press features an excellent and thought-provoking article by medical sociologist Dr. Gayle A. Sulik, who discusses the Komen foundation's attempts to brand the pink ribbon and essentially take over the breast cancer cure industry. I know that I've tired of all the pink washing, especially because of how little of each purchase actually goes to the cause. It seems that it's become hip to support "the cure." As Sulik notes, "Komen’s 'legal duty to protect its more than 200 registered trademarks' by fighting other organizations over use of the phrase 'for the cure' suppresses its moral duty to uphold the public good and ultimately undermines the goal of eradicating breast cancer."

And women are the ones who suffer for it.

For a more humorous take on the issue, check out Stephen Colbert, who of course supports Komen's legal actions.

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