BREAKING NEWS: People racing shopping carts while raising food for charity are in danger of being confused with the great Alaskan sled dog race.
The Boston Urban Iditarod — a fundraiser/pub crawl/costume contest/charitable organization — received a cease-and-desist notice from the Iditarod Trail Committee, Inc., asking them to remove their trademarked name from the race. The Boston Urban Iditarod will henceforth be referred to as the “Boston Urban Idiotorama” to distinguish the vast differences between the races.
Tim Jones, one of Idiotorama’s co-founders, said the unexpected letter really threw the organization for a loop. He said he doesn’t understand how anyone could confuse the goofy, charitable organization with the prestigious dog sled race.
“It’s totally ridiculous. There’s no chance anyone could confuse the idea of a real dog sled race happening in Alaska with people dressed up in costumes with shopping carts going around to bars in Boston,” Jones said.
But, according to the Iditarod Trail Committee, Inc., they have rights to the name “regardless of whether there is any likelihood of confusion.” The cease-and-desist letter stated:
“Your use of “Iditarod” in connection with your race and on your website is likely to confuse your race participants and website users as to whether your race is somehow affiliated or connected with, or approved by, ITC. At minimum, such use is likely to impair the distinctiveness of IDITAROD or harm its reputation.”
The Boston Urban Iditarod was not the only urban race to receive the letter. Letters were sent out to similar races across the country, including one in New York City that was held last week. Jones hopes that even though the events must change their names, they can still continue to leave their legacy across the country.
“We’d love for all the urban iditarods to rename to something similar because it’s nice to have that cohesiveness,” Jones said. “I love the idea of somehow being able to still connect with all the urban whatever-we’re-allowed-to-call-them-now’s.”
The Boston Urban Idiotorama will still take place on Saturday, March 1. Jones said that while this legal action has been annoying and unnecessary, the race is still on and he is excited to race around the city in a fashion similar to the Iditarod in a way that benefits the city.
“We’ve got a month to go, and we’re excited for the race. I’m glad it’s over with so we can continue focusing on making a great race and having the charitable contribution that the race offers,” Jones said. “It’s a slightly different name, but the same great race. We’re still here to support the Boston Medical Center Food Pantry.”
For more information on the race, visit the event’s website.