Logo becomes a point of contention for 9/11 family fund
The family of a Bloomberg staffer who was killed in the World Trade Center on 9/11 is fighting an apparel company over what they claim is trademark infringement on a logo the family designed as part of a charity fundraiser after his death.
The Bill Kelly Jr. Memorial Fund is named for a 30-year-old sales staffer who worked at Bloomberg Tradeworks and died 18 years ago while attending a business conference at Windows on the World on the morning the North Tower collapsed.
(Editor’s note: Media Ink’s Keith J. Kelly isn’t related to the Bill Kelly family).
The dispute pits the foundation against Black Clover Enterprises, a Draper, Utah, sports apparel company founded in 2008 that markets hats with a logo similar to the one the family has used for years — showing a four-leaf clover encircling a red, white and blue US flag design.
“We’re Irish, and Billy was very patriotic,” said Casey Hamilton, his sister who designed the first logo that began showing up in 2002 at a golf tournament to raise money for scholarships to the University of Scranton, a Jesuit college from which her brother graduated in 1993.
Over the years, a 501(c)(3) charity has raised more than $1 million for the scholarships. And on Sept. 9, University of Scranton President Scott R. Pilarz thanked the family by renaming a dormitory in honor of Bill Kelly and Brendan Giblin, another late alumnus whose family helped support student scholarships.
Stephen Roth, a lawyer for the foundation, claimed in a suit filed in Newark federal district court that Black Clover uses “a confusingly similar trademark” to the four-leaf clover and flag design used by the foundation for 17 years. Black Clover markets other clover designs in various colors, but the foundation is only objecting to the one with the red, white and blue flag.
“It’s created a lot of confusion,” said Roth.
Black Clover attorney David Gold said, “We really can’t comment on it — it’s an active case.”
Hamilton said she’s hoping Black Clover agrees to a licensing deal for the shamrock-American flag hats. “If they did, it would be going to a charity that benefits education. It would be a win-win.”
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