For over 30 years, runners took to the streets near Downtown Cleveland on the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day for the St. Malachi Race. For most serious runners, this early-season five-miler kicked off the year of racing, including a few of mine. Year after year, early March saw Cleveland runners of all abilities descend on the historic Cleveland St. Malachi church to test their fitness while contributing to the church’s homeless outreach programs.
Throughout its entire existence, the company Hermes Road Racing put on the race. But recently, because St. Malachi claims they only received a tiny fraction of the popular race’s proceeds (just $3,000 out of the $113,000 taken in), it decided to go with a different race promoter, Greater Cleveland XC, which promised to provide a greater percentage of the proceeds to the church’s charitable programs. Cue the lawsuit.
Hermes claims it holds the trademark rights to the name “St. Malachi” for any running events in Cleveland and that the St. Malachi church nor any other race promoter may use that name for a race in Cleveland.
What do you think?
When an organization hires a race promoter to put on a fundraising race for them, who owns the rights to the name of the race: the organization or the race promoter?