Delta Foundation Sued Over Attempted Ownership of ‘Pittsburgh Pride’

QBurgh LLC files lawsuit in opposition of Delta's trademark application for 'Pittsburgh Pride'

Delta Foundation 2019 headquarters stands boarded and dilapidated in July 2021. Photo source Google Maps.

QBurgh LLC, the publishing company of QBurgh, filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh opposing their attempted trademark of “Pittsburgh Pride.”

The suit, brought nearly a year and a half since the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh announced its dissolution in August of 2020, is another mark in the Foundation’s long, checkered history.

“The Delta Foundation has been bullying the LGBTQ Community of Pittsburgh for long enough,” said Jim Sheppard, co-creator of QBurgh. “Delta Foundation leaders Marty Healey, Jonathan Holmes, Eddie McAndrews, and Chuck Honse should do the right thing for once and give up any claim of ownership of ‘Pittsburgh Pride.'”

The Delta Foundation announced its dissolution and the cancellation of any Pittsburgh Pride events hosted by the Foundation in August of 2020. Many in the LGBTQ Community of Pittsburgh believed the organization was defunct while organizations like TransYOUniting, the LGBTQ Coalition of Pittsburgh, SisTersPGH and others took up the planning and hosting of Pittsburgh Pride events in 2021. However, the Delta Foundation filed a trademark application for ownership of “Pittsburgh Pride” on September 2, 2020 — two weeks after its announced dissolution. The application was only published publicly for opposition on August 24, 2021.

The suit is brought on two counts. First, that the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh was not in fact using the term “Pittsburgh Pride” at the time of filing since the organization had canceled all Pittsburgh Pride events, the board of the Foundation had already voted to dissolve the organization, and that other organizations announced on August 24, 2020 that they would be hosting Pittsburgh Pride events moving into the future. Additionally, that the term “Pittsburgh Pride” has become synonymous with the internationally recognized month of celebration for the LGBTQ Community of Pittsburgh, that Pittsburgh Pride events have been hosted by various organizations since 1973, and that the term Pittsburgh Pride has pre-established value and meaning not only to the LGBTQ Community but to most Pittsburghers.

The opposition contends that countless people and many groups and organizations have come to regard ‘Pittsburgh Pride’ as a moniker of their pride regarding their sexual and gender identities and of their accomplishments with respect to their hard-earned equality.

The opposition requests that the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh’s application for ownership of “Pittsburgh Pride” be rejected and “for such other relief as may be deemed just and proper.”

“You can’t own ‘Pittsburgh Pride.’ Pride belongs to the community. When will the Delta Foundation finally do the right thing?” Sheppard said.

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