First off, don’t worry, the 10th Anniversary Idiotarod is still on for tomorrow, Jan. 25. But now it’s being called the even harder to spell Idiotarodorama NYC.
It seems that the real Iditarod, a crazy Anchorage to Nome dog sled race that takes place every March in Alaska, sent a cease and desist letter to Idiotarod NYC. Here’s the heart of their complaint:
Your use of “Idiotarod” is likely to cause confusion by suggesting that ITC is somehow associated with your race. Your use of “Idiotarod” is certainly likely to dilute ITC’s famous mark by reducing its sole association with the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, and by causing the public to associate the mark 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.
Though you certainly have to have skill and courage to participate in a 1000-mile dog sled race in Alaska, The New Yorker did a profile on the Iditarod a few years back that made the whole affair seem slightly less noble and pure than all the Jack London-vintage frontier lore would suggest.
Though the Iditarod may well have a legitimate, if overly sensitive copyright infringement claim, they’re fighting an uphill battle. Despite its super-Brooklyn trappings, or maybe because of them, the Idiotarod/Idiotarodorama takes place in cities around the country now, including St. Louis, Chicago and Portland, Ore. You might be able to find a handful of crazies eager to go snow blind on the back of a sled, but there are whole armies of urbanites who are beyond stoked to put on a chicken costume and jump in a shopping cart.