Public Confusion Between Cards4heroes.com and cardsforheroes.org

UPDATE 9/14/09:

On 9/11/09, cardsforheroes.org announced it had changed its name to Operation Write Home.



Original Post, 7/24/09:

Due to questions we have received from the public regarding the confusion between Cards4heroes.com, our company, and cardsforheroes.org, an unaffiliated non-profit business, we would like to communicate some of the facts regarding this matter to our customers and visitors:

Dear Loyal Cards4Heroes Customers and Visitors,

My company Cards4heroes.com has served the military community for many years now and has helped thousands of troops and veterans and their families by offering quality greeting cards, stationery and gifts which celebrate military service and express gratitude for the hard work and sacrifices made on behalf of our Country and for all Americans. You may not know that our company also fulfills a charitable mission: we donate a portion of our profits to military-related charities and have done so since our inception.

Cards4heroes.com was founded in 2005. This was years before Ms. Allnock began cardsforheroes.org. She was apparently aware of cards4heroes.com when she chose the domain name cardsforheroes.org because she immediately asked my company to link to her to drive traffic to her site. We declined to do that out of concern for the effects of confusion on both organizations. We are now increasingly experiencing those effects and it is becoming a significant drain on us as a small business.

Our company has been advised by our legal counsel that under trademark law we must enforce our rights or risk losing them. We are increasingly faced with members of the public confusing cards4heroes.com with cardsforheroes.org. It is costing us company time and resources in sorting out the confusion, and we are receiving complaints from our own loyal customers about cardsforheroes.org using our company name. While the main reasons for our having to resolve this is because we risk losing our legal rights and the confusion is becoming a drain on our resources, there is another, more troubling reason. We have become particularly concerned by the fact that Ms. Allnock is operating an unregistered charity. We are afraid that her failure to manage her legal and administrative responsibilities to the government as a non-profit will involve us, due to her use of our name. Understandably, we seek to avoid any state or federal liability that might mistakenly fall on us as a result of confusion between the two names.

My company has been trying for several months now to work with Ms. Allnock in a constructive and positive spirit of cooperation to help her avoid further legal difficulty. We are afraid that her continuing failure to face this problem of confusion, together with her other legal problems, will ultimately diminish her charity's resources and impede its ability to continue its work, which we admire and very much want to see her continue.

Cards4heroes.com repeatedly has conveyed directly and through our legal counsel that we support Ms. Allnock'€™s charity - just that she needs to continue her efforts under a name which clearly separates the companies in the public mind. My company has even offered financial assistance with the transition, because we understand this is a disruption to her activities and that her charity has limited resources, and because we believe that what resources it has should go towards its charitable mission, not towards a legal dispute. We really hope that she will accept our assistance so that we can both continue to serve our roles in supporting military personnel and their families. Unfortunately, if she will not work with us to resolve this, we really have no choice but to defend our rights legally. The law is clear: we either enforce our trademark rights in the face of confusion, or we risk losing them from non-enforcement.

I personally, together with my company and its staff, appreciate all those who serve our Country very much, as well their families who also sacrifice much. This is, afterall, the very reason for all our efforts to serve those who serve us in such a profoundly special way. We wish each member of our American Armed Forces every success in their missions and, for all those who are currently deployed, a safe return home to their family and friends.

Very truly yours,
Donna Nakagiri
Founder and President
Friday, July 24, 2009

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