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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Protecting Our Brand

When I partnered with the HNF five years ago, I asked them to trademark the "Team CMT" name. I knew there would come a time when someone else would try to use the name.

About two years ago, I was reading posts in one of the team CMT face book groups and I saw a group raising money for CMT, with "Team CMT" tee shirts.  It was the CMT U.K. group.  I contacted the president Karen Butcher and made her aware that Team CMT was a protected name. She basically told me she did not care and they just did it once.  I was really surprised by that. I can understand not knowing, but I was surprised someone would deliberately take our name and use it without permission. And then on top of it tell me that they didn't care.

Well about three months ago, I was again reading face book and saw the Team CMT kids logo attached to a post by someone not on the team or connected to the HNF.  He planned on using it on a face book page he had created aimed at supporting kids with CMT.  He was a CMTA member and was raising funds for them.

I helped design the logo with a graphic artist hired by the HNF. The design is based on TRIAD which means therapeutic research in accelerated design. The logo had meaning to us because of that.  It is a brand that represents our effort to raise awareness of CMT and money for CMT research. It represents the 200 plus members that have joined the team.

I privately messaged the person and let him know that it was a copyrighted logo. He said it should be all OK because it was for a good cause. He acknowledged he was also using the logo to fund raise for the CMTA.  He said it should be OK to do that because there should not be any strife between the two groups. He also added that he copied it from the Internet, so it was OK to use it.  He refused to take down the logo.

I told him very clearly that he was not to use it. He thought he could just join the team and that would make it OK. I declined having him join the team because he was not interested in supporting the team, just using the logo.

He then went on to paint himself as a victim in a posting on Inspire.  I could understand not understanding copy right law, but to continue to insist on using a logo from one group to fund raise for another makes you a bit clueless. This would be like borrowing a friend's car without their permission to deliver meals for "Meals on Wheels" and not returning it when you pointed out they were driving your car without permission.  Just because it is for a good cause does not keep the action from being illegal and unethical.

About a week after the incident, the legal department at my company sent out this message about intellectual property.

"Copyright is a form of protection for any original works of authorship in a tangible medium provided by U.S. laws. The owner of the copyrighted work (e.g., author(s) of the work, company whom the work was prepared for, etc.) has the exclusive legal right to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display or create derivative works thereof.

Make sure you obtain permission from the copyright owner prior to using copyrighted work. Examples of copyrighted work include printed material from books, newspaper and magazines (e.g. articles, cartoons and logo) , as well as information and data from the internet and computer software.

If you are unsure whether work is copyrighted, always err on the side of caution."

To those in the CMT community that have used our logo and name, this means the "Team CMT" name and the logo belong to the HNF and are not to be used because you like the name or you like the way the logo looks.  Please come up with your own ideas and design your own logo.  This one is already taken and we proudly use it to raise awareness of CMT and funds for CMT research. I am sure you will come up with equally great ideas. Don't underestimate your own creativity. I can't wait to see what you come up with.  I support your efforts and work, just not borrowing our name and logo. Please respect it is our brand, I respect yours.

I wish others in this effort the same success Team CMT and the HNF has achieved. There is room for all of us.  Just please come up with your own great ideas.


Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Chris is a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a three time participant of the Boston Marathon.  In 2012 she finished 2nd at Boston in the Mobility Impaired Division. She was on the course in 2013 when the bombs exploded.

She has appeared three times at the Paratriathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division Champion.

In 2014 she was the PC Open Champion at the Duathlon National Championship and at the Aqua bike National Championship in 2016. She represented Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015 and at the World championship in Cozumel in 2016.  

 In 2014 she represented the U.S. as a paratriathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.  She has won state championships in cycling and triathlon as a senior Olympian.

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” that details her experience as a CMT affected athlete.

You may visit her author page at:

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 210 members in 38 states. We also have members in Australia, England, Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland, Scotland, France, Poland, Iran, Norway and Sweden. If you wish to join us visit our web site; or

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

Additional Link
Follow CMT affected Paratriathlete Timmy Dixon

Follow CMT Author Chris Steinke

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