First, these organizations may rely heavily on donations, including through online campaigns. Those that do not have strong brands may be vulnerable to infringement, such as by bad actors registering Internet domain names and social media profiles that are similar in name and look to nonprofits’ brands. This means that donors’ funds may be misdirected to these infringers. In addition, charitable organizations often provide services to vulnerable populations, including those seeking life-saving services. If, for example, a person seeking suicide prevention information is instead directed to an infringing website that offers hate speech, the consequences could be tragic. At a minimum, the vulnerable individual may fail to find the services needed, and may lose faith in the ability of the organization to help.
Winterfeldt IP Group is committed to assisting deserving charitable organizations build their brands. Pro bono clients of the practice have included organizations providing services to: LGBTQ members of the community, including youth; women and girls seeking leadership opportunities; persons with disabilities; and sexual assault survivors. Clients also include arts, cultural, and environmentally-oriented organizations.
Pro bono services are provided for the full range of Winterfeldt IP Group’s legal capabilities. Key types of matters include:
- Trademark searching and counseling, including selection of trademarks to optimize protectability;
- Drafting, filing and prosecution of trademark applications;
- Management and maintenance of full trademark portfolios, including matters in the United States and internationally;
- Development and implementation of enforcement strategies, with particular attention to the types of infringement most concerning to nonprofit and charitable organizations;
- Domain name management and enforcement (including in connection with the new gTLD program);
- Social media counseling and enforcement, including review and cleanup of social media platforms with infringing profiles;
- Transactional/agreement matters, such as agreements for charitable organizations to partner with other companies; and
- Preparation of training programs to improve in-house brand stewardship.