ALS Association withdraws attempt to trademark ‘ice bucket challenge’

The ALS Association has withdrawn its attempt to trademark ‘ice bucket challenge’, a move that could have stopped other charities using the term for fundraising.

ice bucket 460

The application was filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office last week and alleged that the charity owned the rights to the phrases “Ice Bucket Challenge” and “ALS Ice Bucket”. However, lawyers questioned the veracity of the claim, with Fiona McBride, trademark attorney at Withers & Rogers, believing it was “highly likely” the application would not go through because the charity has no direct association with ice bucket challenges in general.

A spokeswoman for the ALS Association told Reuters that following growing public concern the charity is withdrawing the trademark. She said the association was filed “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”.

The viral campaign has become popular in both the US and the UK, with hundreds of celebrities including Victoria Beckham and Leonardo di Caprio, taking part. It involves people throwing buckets of iced water over their head and, in most cases, donating to charity.

In the US, that donation has tended to go to the ALS Association, which has raised in excess of $100m dollars from 3 million donors over the past month. That is more than it raised in the whole of 2013.

In the UK both the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA) and Macmillan have raised more than £3m from donations. However, Macmillan has come in for some criticism for “hijacking” the challenge and has been forced to defend its actions.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here