LAST CALL: DAMMADD leaves MADD damn mad

Brewing in the Dallas federal courthouse: a battle of the MADDs.

Brewing in the Dallas federal courthouse: a battle of the MADDs.

In the center witness stand, weighing in at about $28 million in assets (according to its 2001 annual report), is the champion, Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The challenger, with nearly $150,000 raised through a website, clambakes, and car washes, is Dads and Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers (DAMMADD).

Which MADD is madder? It's hard to tell.

MADD filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit against DAMMADD, an outfit founded last year in Tioga Center, NY by Steven Steiner, whose son died of an overdose. DAMMADD spreads anti-drug messages, and paid out about $1,500 in rewards last year to citizens whose tips put drug dealers behind bars.

In celebration of its 22nd anniversary, MADD just unveiled a new logo emphasizing its missions to stop drunk driving, assist crime victims, and prevent underage drinking. The insignia drops "Mothers Against Drunk Driving, since surveys show the acronym carries 97% name recognition.

MADD isn't about to let anyone usurp its megabrand without a fight. "This is vital to avoid confusion among the public and supporters, said Dean Wilkerson, MADD executive director.

DAMMADD's leader blew his top over the lawsuit. "It's all about greed, it's all about money, accuses Steiner, who claims MADD's famous name had nothing to do with his own choice of moniker. "They're the ones that are going to have a PR problem."

Looks like a judge will have be the judge of that.

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