The Livestrong Cancer Research Centre site
The Livestrong Cancer Research Centre site

Earlier this week I sent a number of questions to staff at the Flinders Medical Centre (Flinders) in Adelaide concerning the relationship between Flinders and organisations closely associated with it, particularly the LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre, and Mr Lance Armstrong and organisations associated with him. Those organisations include the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), which, according to the LIVESTRONG.com website owns both the copyright and trademark for LIVESTRONG™.

Before I sent the questions through I spoke with a staff member at Flinders who advised that “There are some issues that we [at Flinders] could deal with but other matters require the approval of LIVESTRONG.”

I am interested in the relationships between Flinders and LIVESTRONG™, Lance Armstrong and organisations associated with him because of reports that the Flinders Medical Centre may have paid for the use of the LIVESTRONG™ trademark. I approached Flinders to clarify this point because it conflicted with comments that suggest that the use of the LIVESTRONG™ trademark had been gifted to Flinders.

I was also seeking a response to reports that Flinders had paid Armstrong for transport-related expenses and for his appearances at events related to the LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre. I was also interested in whether Armstrong or his affiliated organisations had made any donations to the LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre.

According to a speech given to the House of Representatives in the Australian parliament by the local member Dr Andrew Southcott on 25 February 2009:

I also thank Lance Armstrong for giving the name of his Foundation, Livestrong, to the cancer centre.” (emphasis added)

But in August 2010 – according to a statement at the Flinders website, Lance Armstrong didn’t give the LIVESTRONG™ name to Flinders – he dedicated it:

In 2009 the vision of the Centre captured the imagination of seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, who dedicated the name of his foundation LIVESTRONG to the new research wing and was present at a site-blessing ceremony earlier this year.” (emphasis added).

On Thursday this week I sent my questions to Flinders again, advising that I’d received neither an acknowledgment of receipt nor a response to my earlier questions.

I want to make it clear that I do not know whether Flinders did pay Armstrong or any organisations associated with him for the use of the trademark LIVESTRONG™ or the other matters raised here. What I was seeking from Flinders was confirmation as to the nature of those arrangements. I think it is important that these questions be asked – particularly because we know so little (as I’ve considered before here and in my pieces at Crikey.com) about the arrangements between Armstrong and the South Australian government and other agencies in that state.

I’ve still not had a response to my questions – so I’ll publish them here.

Artists impression. Image from Woodhead
Artists impression LIVESTRONG Cancer Research Centre. Image from Woodhead

Dear Flinders,

I am working on an article concerning the commercial and non-commercial relationships between the Flinders Medical Centre (the FMC) and related organisations or entities, including the LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre, and Mr Lance Armstrong and various entities connected with him, including Livestrong.org, Livestrong.com and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, commonly known as the LAF.

I have several questions in relation to reports that the FMC – or any organisation or entity associated with it – made payment to either Mr Lance Armstrong, Livestrong.org, Livestrong.com or the LAF for the right to use the LIVESTRONG™ logo and wording in association with the promotion and oerations associated with the LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre.

I note that the ownership of the copyright of the word “LIVESTRONG” is asserted by the LAF, which also owns “LIVESTRONG” as a registered trademark.

My questions are as follows:

1 – Has the Flinders Medical Centre and/or related organisations or entities made any payment to Mr Lance Armstrong, Livestrong.org, Livestrong.com, the LAF or any other organisation or entity associated with Mr Armstrong, for the use of the trade mark “LIVESTRONG™”?

2 – If any payment was made please advise of the following:

(a) Was that payment made by the FMC or a related entity?

(b) If not the FMC or a related entity, was that payment made by the South Australian government or some other entity? Please provide details.

(c) When was that payment made and what was the amount of the payment?

(d) Was that payment made personally to Mr Lance Armstrong? If not, please advise to whom, or to which entity associated with Mr Armstrong, payment was made?

(f) If the payment was for the licensing of the use of the LIVESTRONG™ trademark, what was the period of that license?

(g) Please advise of any other relevant conditions to the licensing or use of the trademark LIVESTRONG™, either on behalf of Mr Armstrong, the LAF or associated entities or on behalf of the FMC or any related entity.

3 – If no payment was made to Mr Armstrong, the LAF or associated entities, please provide details of the conditions under which the rights to use the the trademark LIVESTRONG™ was granted to the FMC or related entities.

4 – Has Mr Armstrong – or any entity related to him – been paid by FMC or any related entity by way of an attendance or similar fee for his appearances at events arranged for or on behalf of the FMC or the LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre? If so, please provide details of any such payments, including amounts, dates of payments, source of the payments and to whom such payments were made,

5 – Has the FMC or any related entity made payments to Mr Armstrong or any entity related to him in relation to concerning travel, transport or accommodation expenses incurred by Mr Armstrong or his associates for his attendance at or activities related to the LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre or the FMC. This includes, but is not restricted to, payment for items such as fuel or other costs associated with the aircraft used by Mr Armstrong to travel to and from Adelaide.

6 – Please advise of any payments or contributions by way of cash or pledges to the FMC, the LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre or related entities by Mr Armstrong, the LAF or related entities.

7 – Please advise whether staff employed by either the FMC, LIVESTRONG™ Cancer Research Centre or related entities negotiated the arrangements for the licensing of the LIVESTRONG™ trademark. If not negotiated by or on behalf of the FMC by FMC staff please advise who conducted those negotiations.