California Non-Profit Settles Trademark Dispute with Charity Team Building Company

Build-A-Bike ® Team Building Activity

I’m glad we could put this behind us and get back to what both of us do really well – helping kids.

After almost a year of negotiations, Golden State Foods Foundation (GSFF), a California non-profit, settled a pending trademark lawsuit with The Leader’s Institute ®, a Texas-based charity team building company for an undisclosed amount of money last week. Although GSFF admitted no wrong-doing, they agreed to stop using the disputed trade name, Build-A-Bike ® to avoid a costly lawsuit.

The Leader’s Institute ® has offered a bicycle building team activity that they call Build-A-Bike ® since 2005, and the company owner, Doug Staneart applied for and received a Federal Trademark for the name in 2006. The Build-A-Bike ® team activity is a workshop where corporate teams work together to build bicycles for underprivileged kids in their local area. “It’s been the most popular team building activity that we offer for almost a decade, because it is so much fun, and it also helps kids in the community,” said Staneart. “For most training opportunities, we look for a win-win scenario, but with Build-A-Bike ®, it’s a Win-Win-Win, because we as a company can help teams become more effective, the participants are learning valuable team skills, and a number of local kids get a brand-new bike.”

Because GSFF had also begun to use the trade name Build-A-Bike to describe their bicycle building activity, The Leader’s Institute filed a lawsuit in The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, styled The Leader’s Institute, LLC v. Golden State Foods Foundation, Civ. A. No. 3:16-cv-03258.

According to court documents, The Leader’s Institute ® sent a cease and desist letter to GSFF in May of 2016, and received a response from attorneys representing GSFF saying that although GSFF didn’t agree that The Leader’s Institute ® owned the exclusive trademark, they would comply and change the name of their activity to avoid a dispute. Three months later, GSFF was still using the mark. However, in September of 2016, GSFF changed the name of their event to Build-ur-Bike in an effort to comply with the cease and desist request.

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