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Legal dispute hits red nose charity

Saturday 10 Nov 2012 9:47 a.m.

Red Nose Day raises money for research into child illnesses  (Photo supplied)

Red Nose Day raises money for research into child illnesses (Photo supplied)

Legal action by an Australian charity over its trademark is threatening the future of Red Nose Day in New Zealand, which raises money for research into child illnesses.

Cure Kids has been told it can't use red noses anymore because the trademark belongs to the National Sids Council of Australia, the sudden infant death syndrome charity.

The Kiwi charity's chief executive, Vicki Lee, has called the intellectual property move "an underarm bowl" and insists the event will continue, Fairfax Media reports.

Cure Kids ran red nose days from 1989 to 1997 and revived them in 2010. Its Red Nose Day Comedy For Cure Kids event in August raised $1.3 million for its research.

Ms Lee said the dispute was sparked after she called the Australian council to buy some red nose stock.

"There's been exchanges in years gone by with stock and other things. They went quiet and then the next thing I know our trademark people [called].

"We are so disappointed," she said. "It's frustrating. I'm puzzled by it - we both have successfully run red nose days for years with no trouble."

Sids council chief executive Leanne Raven said she wanted to align the two charities more closely.

"It's about protection of a very strong brand. That's where we are coming from. We've built it over 25 years.

"People need to be clear what they are donating funds to," Ms Raven said. "It's about transparency. If Cure Kids could work with us... then there's no issue."

However, Ms Lee was adamant the New Zealand Red Nose Day would continue.

"There's no risk at all, we own it. It's ours. Full stop."

NZN

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