After Hurricane Irma hit last year and caused so much devastation, Real Housewives of New York star Bethenny Frankel started B Strong Disaster Relief for victims of natural disasters, but it looks like Frankel’s initiative could be hurting another charity. Gary Aboud – founder and executive director of the B Strong: Braden Aboud Memorial Foundation – says that he trademarked “B Strong” back in 2007, but Frankel refuses to change her charity’s name.
“We have reached out to her,” Aboud told Radar Online. “The attorney for Ms. Frankel has discussed with her about the usage of the trademark. The information we got back was that they don’t see a potential conflict. We are not sure we agree with that.”
On October 5, 2007, Aboud filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to have “B Strong” trademarked, and it is still live. So, Aboud and his board of directors are figuring out their next move, since calling Frankel’s attorney has been unsuccessful.
— Duchess French (@Duchess_French) May 17, 2018
Aboud says that his foundation has to make a decision to protect its trademark quickly, but after reaching out to Frankel, they are not sure what avenue they will take. He says they will move forward and hopefully work something out. But, they need to at least open Frankel’s ear about the B Strong name, and they have to do what is necessary.
This isn’t the first time that Aboud’s foundation has had someone use their trademark without permission. After the Boston Marathon bombing in 2014, the Boston Red Sox used “B Strong,” and the foundation had get their lawyers involved to get them to stop.
Aboud says it has “been a constant battle” with people using the trademark. He says that Frankel is doing good for the people of Puerto Rico, but in El Paso, some people are confused about which organization is which, and they have to call and clarify.
In the Southwest, “B Strong” is a household name, Aboud says, and it something near and dear to him. He says it is important to protect the trademark because he started his organization after losing his son in 2007.
The B Strong: The Braden Aboud Memorial Foundation has raised over $1.5 million in the past decade to help improve the health and educational development of youth in El Paso, Texas. They have given money to different organizations, schools, and teams in the region.
RHONY has featured Frankel’s organization during multiple episodes this season, and a rep for the reality star said that they “greatly admire” Aboud and the work he does through his charity.
The rep added that Frankel is aware of Aboud’s concerns about using B Strong in connection with disaster relief, but they believe that their work is different enough from the Braden Aboud Memorial Foundation, and both uses can co-exist.
Catch Bethenny Frankel in new episodes of Real Housewives of New York Wednesday nights on Bravo.