11 Wake Forest J. Bus. & Intell. Prop. L. 295
When charitable nonprofits are forced into trademark fights, they are at risk of no longer being able to help their respective causes. Raising awareness of a condition many laypeople have not heard of is a noble goal with a steep uphill climb. Using and registering a mark to prevent others from diluting the organization’s message are appropriate measures and common practice among nonprofit organizations. This Comment explores the reality facing many small nonprofits: they are one cease-and-desist letter or lawsuit away from no longer being able to help people. Many organizations settle in the face of impossible legal fees, and as a result there is almost no case law analysis where larger organizations sue small nonprofits. Many entities, including corporations and large nonprofits, protect their marks fiercely and can crush smaller organizations by merely threatening the word “enjoin.” What could a small nonprofit organization do if it had to face a larger organization with a war chest specifically reserved for trademark litigation? What if a small nonprofit had lawyers who would not file defective pleadings and hamstring its motion to dismiss?