Category Archives: Business Planning

Can ALS Association Trademark the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a bucket this summer, it’s likely you’ve heard about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. If you haven’t yet been called on to donate or douse yourself with a bucket of icy water, you’ve certainly seen the thousands of videos of people far and wide — famous and not — gasping from a freezing bath.

Now the ALS Association has filed two patent applications to trademark the term, “Ice Bucket Challenge” for use in raising money for charity. Since the end of July, ALS has raised almost $94 million via the Challenge, compared with just $2.7 million during the same time period last year. Naturally, they don’t want other charitable organizations using an ice bucket challenge to steal their fundraising limelight. But is it possible to trademark the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Legal experts weighing in on the matter have noted that the ALS Association will probably not prevail in its trademarking efforts. First, the term is generic, likely too much so to qualify for trademark. Second, ALS did not invent the phrase nor the use of it for fundraising. In June, several pro golfers started dumping ice water over their heads to raise money for their favorite charities. In mid-July, a minor league golfer tied the challenge to ALS, and it took off from there.

Defending itself against critics that say the Ice Bucket Challenge should be available for all charitable causes seeking to raise funds, the ALS Association said it filed the patent applications “after seeing many examples of unscrupulous profiteers trying to drive revenue to themselves, instead of the fight against ALS.”

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4 Important Steps to Protect Personal Wealth From Business Liabilities

Every business owner makes the decision to assume some portion of risk when they operate their own business, but no one wants that potential risk to affect their personal wealth. Unfortunately, there are all too many business owners who neglect to implement the correct asset protection strategies to firmly separate business risk from personal wealth.… Continue Reading

Choose the Right Business Entity

One of the first decisions an entrepreneur should be making is the selection of the right form of business entity. This is a critical decision because of its ongoing legal and tax consequences. Liability protection is the most important non-tax consideration in the business entity selection process. The business owner has to have a shield… Continue Reading

How to Properly Structure a Founder’s Agreement for Your New Venture

We are a nation of entrepreneurs, but we are also living in a litigious society, so if you are starting a new venture and there are other founders involved, a founder’s agreement is essential to protecting your fledgling enterprise. Here are some tips on how to properly structure a founder’s agreement: Assign roles and responsibilities.… Continue Reading

Avoid These Four Common Legal Mistakes If You Own a Business

Whether you are just starting a new business or have been running a business for years, there are four common legal mistakes that both novice and seasoned entrepreneurs make that can have a significant impact on the future viability of your company: Co-mingling of business and personal finances. You may have started your business as… Continue Reading