The organizers of the Alaska race, however, are taking no chances.
This week, they got their lawyer to send a cease-and-desist letter
to the organizers of the Idiotarod.
The letter, which Idiotarod organizers shared on their Facebook page
on Friday, says the New York race, with its "slight variation" in
name, is breaching the Iditarod Trail Committee's trademark rights,
and said Idiotarod organizers risked a lawsuit to seek damages.
Jon Dawson, the Iditarod committee's lawyer, wrote that the
Idiotarod organizers were causing the public to associate the name
"with an event that celebrates wacky costumes and antics over one
that honors the endurance and athleticism of champion sled dogs and
the courage and skill of the men and women that run them."
On Friday, Idiotarod organizers called the letter frivolous, and
said its 10th anniversary race, described on its website as an
"urban spoof" of the Alaskan race, would proceed virtually as
planned this weekend.
In an act of what they called appeasement, however, they said they
would rename their race the Idiotarodorama (aka the Desistarod).
Still, they insisted that "no one in their right mind" could confuse
the two events.
Whether sprinkling a few more letters into the name will avert legal
troubles remains unclear.
Dawson, the Iditarod committee's lawyer, said on Friday he had not
received a formal response to his letter and could not comment
[to top of second column]
The next Iditarod race, which commemorates a 1925 rescue mission
that carried diphtheria serum by sled-dog relay to the Alaska town
of Nome, is due to begin in March in Anchorage.
The organizers of what is now being called the Idiotarodorama, whose
identity is opaque at the best of times, declined further comment.
"Frankly, we're cowering behind our anonymity," an organizer, who
did not give a name, said in a response to an email. "Legal stuff is
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)
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