Charities sue over slogans and similar names

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  June 2003:

SAN FRANCISCO–Alleging “trademark infringement,  unfair
competition,  and related claims arising from the unauthorized use”
of the phrase “Don’t breed or buy while homeless animals die,”  the
International Society for Animal Rights on April 29,  2003 sued In
Defense of Animals in U.S. District Court.
ISAR trademarked the phrase in January 2001,  the suit
states,  objecting that “IDA has incorporated the confusingly similar
slogan ‘Please don’t breed or buy while millions of homeless animals
die’ into posters,  flyers,  and other products featuring gruesome
images of dead and/or dying pets.”  ISAR contends that this confuses
“prospective and actual donors and members about a perceived
relationship between the organizations.”

Fund for Animals president Mike Markarian confirmed on May 19
that the Fund also received “a letter from ISAR’s attorney,”  Trenton
H. Norris,  “threatening to sue The Fund if we did not stop using the
phrase ‘Don’t Breed Or Buy While Homeless Animals Die.’  Our general
counsel has spoken with ISAR’s attorney,”  Markarian said,  “and they
are currently attempting to work out an agreement to avoid
IDA president Elliot Katz,  who founded IDA in 1984,  told
ANIMAL PEOPLE that he had shrugged off a warning letter as sounding
absurd.  Katz,  a veternarian by training,  recalling hearing the
phrase in question,  or similar phrases,  from his first involvement
in animal advocacy.
ANIMAL PEOPLE publisher Kim Bartlett said she had heard
something like it as a volunteer for three Houston shelters in the
early 1970s.  The similar phrase “Don’t breed or buy while shelter
pets die!” appears on the web site of Citizens for Animal Protection,
founded in Houston in 1972.
Altogether,  ANIMAL PEOPLE located 2,372 web sites using
comparable phrases,  only seven of them having any evident
association with ISAR.  Variants included “Please don’t breed or buy
while homeless animals die!”,  “Don’t breed or buy while shelter
animals die,”  “Don’t breed or buy while millions of homeless
companion animals die!,”  and “Why Breed or Buy While Shelter Pets
Since being sued,  Katz said,  he has debated with himself
and others whether IDA should follow The Fund in seeking a relatively
inexpensive settlement,  or should fight the ISAR trademark claim on
behalf of the many smaller  animal advocacy groups who might be sued
ISAR was founded as the National Catholic Animal Welfare
Society in 1959 by Helen Jones,  who five years earlier cofounded the
Humane Society of the U.S.  Jones renamed the group in 1981.
Eclipsed during the 1980s by newer groups with similar missions,
including IDA,  ISAR lapsed into obscurity by the early 1990s.
“Homeless Animals Day,” begun by Jones in 1992,  has been the most
prominent ISAR project of the past decade.  Jones was ousted from the
leadership in early 1996 and died in August 1998.
The most recent ISAR filing of IRS form 990 showed income of
$275,220,  a program budget of $203,383,  and assets of $1.9 million.
The most recent IDA filing showed income of $1.9 million,  a
program budget of $1.5 million,  and assets of $732,824.
In a case with some parallels,  Hong Kong Cat Salvation Army
founder Willliam Fan told ANIMAL PEOPLE on  June 8,   his 300-member
cat rescue network “is being sued by the Salvation Army” for alleged
trademark infringement.  “I shall defend that our name clearly
indicates our activities,”  Fan pledged,  “and that the Salvation
Army,”  based in Switzerland,  “has never associated itself with
animal welfare,  so that no confusion of the organizations could
Similar disputes have broken out before.  The International
Committee of the Red Cross,  founded in 1863,  was not able to
prevent animal charities in England and India from using the name and
symbol Blue Cross,  beginning in 1897,  due to the longtime
prominence of the cross as a charitable symbol.  The American Humane
Association,  however,  forced the National Humane Society to become
the Humane Society of the U.S.  during the mid-1950s.  In 1985 the
Delta Society,  founded in 1977 to promote animal-assisted therapy,
trademarked the use of “Delta” in an attempt to force a name change
on the DELTA Rescue sanctuary,  started in 1979 in memory of founder
Leo Grillo’s dog Delta.  The case was settled in 1989 when the Delta
Society allowed DELTA Rescue to continue using the word “Delta” to
stand for “Dedication and Everlasting Love To Animals.”

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