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Around The Grange
Grange Trademark Update
 

By Laura Auerbach, Communications Director, The New Grange (July/Aug 2010)

  AUGUST 9, 2010 --

Since 1867, the Grange has stood for the rights of rural communities throughout America. It has provided farmers and non-farmers alike with the services and support they have needed to build strong businesses and feed their families. Our organization has provided educational opportunities for senior citizens, youth and juniors, and small but growing families. Community service projects have been initiated and completed by every Grange for the benefit of all citizens. We have advocated for legislation that provided mail service to small rural America and continue to fight for access to broadband for every American today. We are an organization built from the ground up, whose mission speaks volumes because they're backed by strong actions rather than just strong rhetoric. And throughout it all, one thing that has remained the same is the name by which we stand: GRANGE.

Since 2007, our name, GRANGE, has been under attack in the trademark arena. Many companies are trying to take advantage of the strength of our image and brand by using our name to sell products and services. Having our trusted name associated with safe, locally produced, wholesome community based food has made us an attractive target for those who would use our name for commercial profit. But our name does not define products. It defines people and these people can not be bought and sold! Each of us as Grange members should be proud to stand by our name. It represents all the efforts of our current members as well as the achievements of those who came before us.

This attack on our name is not new to our organization. It is the scale of this challenge that is new to us. To allow people to step in and use our brand whenever it suits their needs undermines the very values we stand for. Values like hard work, loyalty, and strength. To allow others to own a piece of our name damages the freedom of our Community Granges to serve their community. We must not let this happen.

The Facts of the Matter

Here is what we know. Since the beginning of 2008, we have had 53 name protection related issues that we have had to address, with 24 of these being significant or major. The good news is that we are down to the last 5 significant challenges. We have spent almost $750,000 on fighting these issues over the last three years and even with the 15% courtesy discount provided by our lawyer, Mr. James L. Bikoff, we are still anticipating that it will cost a little more than $150,000 over the next 18 months before we can begin to normalize our annual budget.

To deal with this enormous expenditure, we have cut or reduced every expense of the National Grange without cutting services or benefits that we provide to our members and Granges. We've held meetings to develop new revenue-generating ideas. Some have worked...a little. Some show promise, and some haven't been feasible. Still, we find ourselves anxious that the National Grange may be forced to choose between protecting or serving our Granges because of this issue. Our reserves are tapped and it is an absolute necessity that we generate new revenue to deal with this problem. Our aggressive costcontainment strategies and estimated legal costs for trademark protection are projected to be the largest single monthly expenditures for the National Grange, outside of payroll and building maintenance, for the remainder of this year.

We need you, our Grange members, to understand that it is primarily your Granges that use the Grange trademarks in a commercial manner. And with this name you are able to raise money to support your halls, community service projects, educational efforts, and legislative programs. This is not a request to help the National Grange office. It's a reminder that our organization is national in scope, but local in its impact. Members need to pool their resources, use their talents, and put their heads together to develop financial strategies that will help us finish this fight. This is a fight the National Grange is pursuing on your behalf but it is a fight that, if lost, will affect how your Grange impacts the lives of all those you touch.

How can YOU help?

State Granges:

If every community, pomona, and state Grange held a fundraiser for this purpose, or donated at least $100 to help during this difficult time we would be able to cover our costs and have enough money to cover costs as well as any unforeseen issues associated with this problem. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. Without your help, we stand no chance of success.

Individuals:

If you are an individual please consider giving an extra years' worth of dues directly to the National Grange. This fraternity knows from experience that the greatest success comes from grassroots efforts. If everyone plays their part we will, no doubt, be successful in our goal!

Please send a check to:

National Grange
ATTN: Amber Casey
1616 H St., NW
Washington, DC 20006

*Please indicate on the check that this money is for trademark protection

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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