Delta Foundation drops "Pittsburgh Pride" trademarking efforts

click to enlarge Delta Foundation drops "Pittsburgh Pride" trademarking efforts
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
An October 2021 demonstration outside of the Persad Center, run by Delta Foundation board head Martin Healey, following Delta's application to trademark the words "Pittsburgh Pride"

The Delta Foundation has formally withdrawn a federal trademark application following a protracted legal challenge launched by a rival LGBTQ organization.

After the foundation announced plans to dissolve in August 2020, the foundation resurrected in Pittsburgh’s LGBTQ scene a year later when it was reported that it had filed an application to trademark the terms “Pittsburgh Pride” and "Pittsburgh PrideFest."

But a former interim president for Delta took this as an affront, and sought to block the trademarking process. Jim Sheppard, who now leads online LGBTQ online magazine QBurgh, maintains the foundation has a troubled history, and celebrates yesterday’s withdrawal filing as a win for the community.

“The Delta Foundation must have finally seen the writing on the wall. ‘Pittsburgh Pride’ belongs to the community not them,” Sheppard says in a press release following the announcement of Delta’s withdrawal.

While Sheppard says QBurgh led the charge, he adds that “many community organizations, like TransYouniting, held protests, petition drives, and fundraisers in opposition to the trademark application as well.”

Initially, Delta sought to fight off QBurgh’s challenge, with both parties engaged in an ongoing legal exchange in a dispute that began in September 2021 and concluded with yesterday’s withdrawal.

In an email to Pittsburgh City Paper, Marty Healey, board president at Delta and the CEO of local LGBTQ service organization the Persad Center, reiterated the wording in the organization's withdrawal paperwork. Both statements maintain the foundation reformed to ensure the continuance of the city's pride festivities and can now drop the trademarking process without fearing the movement will backslide.

“The Executive Committee of the Foundation met and agreed that based on this year’s positive success of Pride Revolution, Pittsburgh Black Pride and Washington PA Pride, as well as the many local neighborhood Pride events that also took place, the Foundation will relinquish the trademark application,” the filing states. “The Foundation’s hope is that this action will empower all of the Pittsburgh regional Pride events to move forward in a positive and supportive manner in uniting the LGBTQIA+ community.”


This story was updated at 2.30 p.m. on Aug. 2 to reflect a statement provided by Delta board president, Marty Healey.