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Charity threatens lawsuit against Red Sox over ‘B Strong’ logo

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew
MLB: World Series-St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox
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Oct 23, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; A Boston Strong logo on the Green Monster at Fenway Park prior to game one of the MLB baseball World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. (Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports)

As residents of Boston and the surrounding areas attempted to heal in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, two words brought everyone together and helped the process along — Boston Strong.

Those words were and continue to be a message of unity and defiance. A message that says they can handle anything thrown their direction and bounce back with the same strength and determination they’ve always had. It’s a powerful message, too, and no organization embraced it or embodied it more in the weeks and months that followed the tragedy than the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox showed their support and solidarity with the community all season long by wearing a patch and displaying a logo on the Green Monster that simply said "B Strong." That's all it needed to say. Everyone knew what it stood for. The famous Red Sox “B” logo only cemented its meaning.

But it turns out that logo isn’t theirs alone. As the El Paso Times reports, the El Paso based Braden Aboud Memorial Foundation actually trademarked “B Strong” seven years ago, and the charitable organization is now considering taking legal action against the Red Sox in an attempt to reclaim sole possession.

“We’re at an impasse and I’m afraid soon we will be going to court over it,” Gary Aboud told the El Paso Times. “It’s a David versus Goliath battle.”

The charity was formed after Mr. Aboud’s son, Braden Aboud, died tragically in a skiing accident. The foundation provides financial assistance to multiple organizations in the El Paso area, and apparently they believe the “B Strong” movement in Boston has taken away attention and potential donations away from the cause.

"They are not willing to give it up because they feel there is no marketing confusion," Gary Aboud said. "There is value to it because they don't want to give it up and they are not willing to cease and desist."

An Internet search for "B STRONG" shows several links to the Braden Aboud Foundation and several images of the Red Sox logo.

"They have sold that on merchandise and made money over it," Gary Aboud said. "They give the money to charities, but we're not included on that list."

It's reported the Red Sox have reached out and offered a joint-licensing agreement that would recognize the Braden Aboud Foundation as the owners of "B Strong," while allowing them to continue using it. According to Gary Aboud, no agreement has been reached due to compensation issues.

Honestly, it's understandable that the Braden Aboud Foundation would want to defend its trademark. You also see where the Red Sox are coming from as their use of the term may actually bring more awareness to the cause than confusion. But wouldn't it be terribly unfortunate if this battle ended up in court and money that could be spent helping the causes of both organizations ends up being spent on legal fees?

Unfortunately, that's looking unavoidable at this point, but here's hoping both sides can come together and work something out quickly so this doesn't turn into an unnecessarily unpleasant battle that defeats the purpose of their similarly noble intentions.

BLS H/N: Eye on Baseball

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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