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Wounded Warrior Project Sues “Rival” Potentially Harming Veterans

flickr.com - U.S. Army Europe Images

flickr.com – U.S. Army Europe Images

Wounded Warrior Project Sues “Rival” Potentially Harming Veterans

An organization created to help injured veterans has sued a group with similar aims over a copyright dispute. The Wounded Warrior Project says the non-profit Keystone Wounded Warriors has a mission statement too close to its own and has a confusingly similar name and logo.

The Wounded Warrior Project seeks an injunction against Keystone Wounded Warriors preventing the group from using its logo and mission statement, which the plaintiff claims too closely resembles its own in a suit filed at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

It is always sad when charitable groups with similar missions choose to fight each other in the courts. Making lawyers rich is not what most donors have in mind when they make their contributions.

According to the complaint, the Wounded Warrior Project was formed in 2003 to provide comfort and aid to soldiers injured in combat in post-9/11 military action, especially in the Middle East. Since its inception, the organization has grown rapidly into one of the largest non-profits benefiting veterans, providing mental and physical health programs for more than 30,000 service members nationwide.

The Wounded Warrior Project claims that the Keystone Wounded Warriors’ mission statement (To honor, empower, aid, and assist Pennsylvania service members) uses language closely similar to the Wounded Warrior Project’s (To honor and empower Wounded Warriors).

The Wounded Warrior Project, according to a report by the Tampa Bay Times, spends only 58% of its donations on veterans in 2012.  Although, on its homepage Wounded Warrior Project claims:

Based on our fiscal year 2013 audited financial statements ending September 30, 2013, 80 percent of total expenditures went to provide services and programs for wounded service members and their families.

As Kris Hundley correctly points out for 2012:

In its 2012 IRS filing, Wounded Warrior reported that about 73 percent of its expenses went toward programs. But the charity is one of many that use a commonly accepted practice to claim a portion of fundraising expenses as charitable works. By including educational material in solicitations, charities can classify some of the expense as good deeds.

Ignoring these joint costs reduces the amount Wounded Warrior spent on programs last year to 58 percent of total expenditures [in 2012].

The Wounded Warrior Project generated revenues of $300 million based on their last financial report.  Now, the not-for-profit is seeking punitive and compensatory damage for any infringements by Keystone Wounded Warriors.

The obvious question is how does this lawsuit help veterans or the mission of this charity?

 

Wounded Warrior Project Sues “Rival” Potentially Harming Veterans

 

 

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