Sue Prom helped organize the "Mush for a Cure" sled-dog race to raise money to fight breast cancer five years ago. The fundraiser was humming along nicely until it received a letter from an attorney for the organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Komen, best known for its pink ribbons and mega-fundraisers for breast cancer research, asked Prom to stop using the phrase "for a cure" and to halt its request for a Mush for a Cure trademark.
"It was like, 'You've got to be kidding,"' said Prom, whose all-volunteer fundraiser outside Grand Marais, Minn., raised about $30,000 last year.
"People are donating money to this organization (Komen) to fight cancer -- not to fight another organization fighting breast cancer."
The dispute points to the growing concerns over branding and trademark issues among nonprofits. The pink ribbons, logos and catchy phrases linked to charities are being fiercely protected as competition for donations grows, especially on the Internet.