Animal shelter settles trademark case
It is taken from lions and tigers and bears. Oh my.
Also wolves and coyotes and foxes.
As the challenge to save wild creatures grew into a global campaign that endeared this rural Weld County nonprofit to the hearts and wallets of many, battling another charity that tried to get rid of of the Wild Animal Sanctuary’s good name was another battle altogether.
But the Keenesburg organization prevailed.
In May 2021, CEO Pat Craig and Wild Animal Sanctuary Inc. filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against the Wild Life Sanctuary Fund Inc. The lawsuit alleged that the Arizona and Montana-based sanctuary fund, with a name to similar sounding website URLs, and website design, had impersonated the Colorado organization’s trademarks and collected contributions from confused donors who thought they were supporting the Wild Animal Sanctuary.
The case filed in federal court was due to go to trial in December of this year. But a year after Craig filed the lawsuit, a settlement has been reached. “We settled out of court,” Craig said. “They gave up the domain names and promised not to do it again,” he said. The domain names now point to Craig’s organization.
Craig had sought treble damages and the other organization’s donations attributable to the trademark infringement, as well as a permanent injunction.
“There were no assets in the company,” Craig said. Prosecuting the individuals behind the company would have meant another trial and more time. So he just stopped the practice as it applies to the Wild Animal Sanctuary.
Craig hopes federal entities will investigate and take action. BizWest’s review of the operations of the Wild Life Sanctuary Fund at the time Craig filed his lawsuit found that the group’s founders also ran numerous other nonprofits from the same address and used the same phone numbers. telephone. Among them: Wild Animal Preservation Fund, Feeding Hungry Children Inc. Puppies Kittens Rescue Fund, Diabetes Aid Prevention Fund, Anti-Animal Cruelty Campaign, Save the Animals, Cancer Aid Prevention Fund, Feeding America’s Children and more.
A call to Charities America, the umbrella organization for these groups, resulted in a recorded message from Lon Taylor, the group’s founder, and no call back.
Several of the charities under the umbrella still have active websites to this day.
This article was first published by BizWest, an independent news agency, and is published under a license agreement. © 2022 BizWestMedia LLC.