Thursday, September 20, 2012

The AMORC vs Golden Dawn Trademark Dispute



It has come to our attention that one or more people within the community have misunderstood a trademark dispute with AMORC. Since trademark law is very complex, it is not surprising someone without knowledge and experience in these matters would misinterpret the issue.

Although we cannot control irresponsible reporting, we can clarify the issue and its importance to the entire community.

This:
  • is NOT a law suit. 
  • IS a trademark dispute. 
  • trademark disputes are common – trademark oppositions comprise 80% of the work of the USPTO - Google the term “trademark dispute” and you can confirm this reality.
  • AMORC wishes to trademark “The Rosicrucian Order” for their use ONLY. 
  • this is no different than Coke, as a company, trying to trademark “soda,” so other soft drink companies cannot use the term. 
  •  we believe that AMORC is NOT the only legitimate Rosicruican order.
  • we believe the term "Rosicrucian" should be protected for the entire Rosicrucian and Golden Dawn communities (not just the A.O.). 
  • Our action thus benefits the entire Rosicrucian and Golden Dawn communities. 
  • On behalf of the Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian communities, the HOGD/AO has taken leadership in preventing AMORC from gaining exclusive ownership of these terms. 
  • Our order's trademark application "Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Outer Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega" (and design) excludes the terms "Hermetic Order" and "Rosicrucian Order."

20 comments:

  1. Dear David

    Thanks for the information. Aren't AMORC wanting to trademark 'Rosicrucian Order' claiming prior usage because you want to add 'Rosicrucian Order' to your own current trademark.

    They are challenging your Application rather than the other way around as you may have suggested above. I'm still wading through all the ddocuments from USPTO website.

    http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?qs=77298136_

    Best wishes

    Josef

    ReplyDelete
  2. Care Frater Joseph,

    Again, our order's trademark application "Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Outer Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega" (and design) already EXCLUDES the term "Rosicrucian Order." (Leaves it open for the entire community)

    In fact, there are TWO actions pending before the USPTO. AMORC has filed opposition to our application and we have filed opposition to AMORC's application.

    As i said before, AMORC wishes to trademark “The Rosicrucian Order” for their use ONLY. This is no different than Coke, as a company, trying to trademark “soda,” so other soft drink companies cannot use the term.

    As I mentioned before, since trademark and patent law is very complex, it is not surprising someone without knowledge and experience in these matters would misinterpret the issue. For example, first usage is not the only factor considered by the USPTO. Phrases that are purely dedcriptive or generic are NOT registerable. Thus Coke can not register "soda."

    We contend that the terms "Rosicrucian" and "Order" are both decriptive and generic, and thus, "The Rosicruican Order" is not registerable under the purely generic or descriptive rules.

    "Rosicruician" and "Order" are both generic and descriptive of dozens of orders past and present, in fact of the entire Rosicrucian TRADITION, which is not the EXCLUSIVE property of AMORC.

    There are many other orders, past and present, who are Rosicrucian as well. Not just AMORC.

    We believe the term "Rosicrucian" should be protected for the entire Rosicrucian and Golden Dawn communities (not just the A.O.). Our action thus benefits the entire Rosicrucian and Golden Dawn communities. On behalf of the Golden Dawn and Rosicrucian communities, the HOGD/AO has taken leadership in preventing AMORC from gaining exclusive ownership of these terms, which we have properly EXCLUDED in OUR application.

    David

    ReplyDelete
  3. Joseph, thanks for bringing this up so David could take the opportunity of making a full post out of it. It truly is of interest to the whole community, who could have woken up one morning no longer able to use the term Rosicrucian... this is just the sort of thing that makes it essential to be engaged in the world of trademarks. Preventing cults from adopting our name and drawing bad publicity down on us all is another reason.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dear David
    This is most illuminating. If AMORC are responding to your application, what was the purpose of your original application if you wanted to keep the term 'Rosicrucian Order' open for all others.

    If the terms are generic as you rightly suggests, does this not make your initial application suspect?

    Best wishes

    Josef

    ReplyDelete
  5. My read of the documents suggests that GH Fr. LeS' comments are correct--it is AMORC which is attempting to claim exlusivity to the generic term "Rosicrucian order," not the HOGD/AO.

    It is a little bit like trying to claim the right for exclusive use to something like "Christian church."

    To characterize this as the HOGD/AO attempting to claim exlusivity here for this generic term is untrue. It undeservedly casts the HOGD/AO in a bad light.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I know this is confusing to you Joseph. Since trademark and patent law is very complex, it is not surprising someone without knowledge and experience in these matters would misinterpret the issue.

    As I have already stated twice, and now I am happy to repeat yet once again, our application DISCLAIMS the words "Rosicrucian" and "Order". This means that they will not be protected by our mark. Our mark protects only the entire name: "Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, outer order of the Rosicruician Order of Alpha et Omega" and this only when used with our triple seal design. I really do appreciate the opportunity to clarify this matter.

    If you would like to understand even better, there are plenty of good resources on line that will explain to you the basics of USA trademark law, including what is means to "disclaim" certain words in a trademark.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Joseph, are we missing your point somehow? Please help us to be clear on what you are actually asking.

    What did you actually mean by "original" application in your question?

    On the topic of WHY use these particular words:

    S.L. MacGregor Mathers renamed the Golden Dawn as the 'Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega' already over a hundred years ago, keeping the Golden Dawn only as the Alpha et Omega's outer order.

    We use the words because that is our Lineage. We are not stopping anyone else from claiming "Rosicrucian" or "Order" or "Rosicrucian Order"...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Joseph,

    Trademark law is very complex, it is not surprising someone without knowledge and experience in these matters would misinterpret the issue. Trademark law is quite different here in the USA than in the UK so I can appreciate your confusion.

    As I have already stated twice above, yet I am happy to repeat yet once again:

    "our application DISCLAIMS the words "Rosicrucian" and "Order".

    This means that these words will NOT be protected by our mark. Our mark protects only the entire name: "Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, outer order of the Rosicruician Order of Alpha et Omega" and this only when used with our triple seal design.

    We seek only to protect the unique identity of our order and to assert our rights in the USA granted "without interference" by the other party of the 2007 Settlement Agreement.

    Our right to register this specific trademark was an essential aspect of the 2007 settlement agreement, which we would never have agreed to otherwise.

    I note that the other party is also ALREADY making full use of our European trademarks based on that agreement. We are merely also asserting our rights now. It may seem unrelated only because our application was tied up in the PTO for an unusual amount of time.

    I really do appreciate the opportunity to clarify this matter.

    If you would like to understand even better though, there are plenty of good resources on line that will explain to you the basics of USA trademark law, including what is means to "disclaim" certain words in a trademark.

    I sincerely hope that I have helped you to better understand what it really means to "DISCLAIM" certain words in a trademark. This is a very common practice in the USA.

    I apologize if this is perhaps not the answer you were hoping to hear, but it is indeed a clear statement of the relevant facts.

    David

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AMORC has nothing but the Rosicrucian name to work with, it's only natural they want it to themselves. Competitively, who could blame them? Every company and organization should do all in their power to seize and protect the narrative related to their business. In response, every organization and business in that market also have a right to prevent a monopoly, as the Alpha Omega is doing in this case.

      Delete
    2. PS-
      Joseph, "SV" is a paralegal. Perhaps he can help you to better understand what it means to DISCLAIM certain terms in a trademark application. I have tried my level best, but appear to have not been able to communicate effectively.

      Delete
  9. If the term "Rosicrucian Order" should be open for anyone to use then so
    should "Golden Dawn"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To a great extent, the term "Golden Dawn" is indeed already open thanks to liberal licensing policies both by the Alpha Omega and the other party in the 2007 Settlement Agreement.

      The Alpha Omega has granted trademark liscences without charge to numerous other temples and orders, as has also the other party of the 2007 Settlement Agreement.

      The primary concern of our order has always been the protection of the reputation of the Golden Dawn. We objected, for example, in most strenuous terms when the other party granted license to use the Golden Dawn trademark to a known pedophile and con man.

      This WE certainly would NOT have done. Even though an entire order left over this, the trademark license still remains in force today. The Golden Dawn community ought to be protected from having its name dragged through the mud by criminal activities.

      Those who want to use the Golden Dawn trademark today need merely ask for it. As long as there are no gross personal or legal abuses, it will certainly be granted by the Alpha Omega where applicable.

      I can not speak for the other party, but they also have a long track record of liberal licensing as well.

      The 2007 Settlement Agreement creates checks and balances that more or less guarantee that anyone seeking to use the Golden Dawn trademark will be allowed to do so.

      Delete
    2. Dear David

      You say "In fact, there are TWO actions pending before the USPTO. AMORC has filed opposition to our application and we have filed opposition to AMORC's application. "

      Are you able to say in laymans terms what your Application was for, in order for AMORC to file an opposition.

      Best wishes

      Josef

      Delete
  10. Carete,

    As suggested by GH Fr. LeS, I would be happy to address Josef's now thrice asked and thrice answered question about excluding portions of a mark, but retaining the exclusive use of the entire mark, as a whole.

    But this has already been done. Josef, if you are still unclear, please reframe your question, so that I may be aware of your difficulties in understanding the answer you have already been provided.

    One thing that is clear, however, is that it is NOT the HOGD/AO which is attempting to claim the exclusive right to the generic and descriptive term: "Rosicrucian order." Instead, the HOGD/AO is working to protect for itself AND OTHERS the right to descriptively and generically use the term "Rosicrucian order."

    What that means, Josef, if the HOGD/AO is successful in this protective endeavor, is that if you ever decide to form a group, you then would be able to freely use the generic and descriptive term "Rosicrucian order" in your group's name.

    This is indeed complex stuff, and at first glance, without the underlying knowledge base and analysis abilities, it can be completely misunderstood.

    ReplyDelete
  11. And the first thing that you have to do if you want to be Golden Dawn and use the term "Golden Dawn" is a pick a side in a dog-fight. You don't have time to develop your group's individual style, or weigh the options, or develop relationships and decide if these are people you want to deal with--no, you have to pick a side instantly. Once you pick a side, you are automatically labeled as belonging to that side, and then you get trash tossed at you...because you picked a side. You cannot be a neutral if you call yourself "Golden Dawn,"; the very first thing you have to do is essentially an act of war because as soon as you do it, you are a villian by the other parties' standards and are attacked for your choice, for the crimes of your chosen side are instantly also your crimes.

    I don't know about anyone else, but this makes me a bitter person.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you Morgan for so poignantly illustrating the polarization that has plagued the entire Golden Dawn community for two full decades. This ongoing polarization of the community has seriously damaged the reputation of the entire Golden Dawn tradition in the eyes of the greater esoteric community.

    The Alpha Omega is leading the way towards healing this situation with the International Golden Dawn Pow Wow initiative. Let's heal old wounds - once and for all - so the Golden Dawn can unfold its full potential in the 21st Century!

    ReplyDelete
  13. @Morgan

    PS - There is nothing in the 2007 Settlement Agreement that prohibits you from receiving a trademark license from BOTH sides. This would grant you complete neutrality and independence!

    The Alpha Omega most certainly does NOT require anyone to choose any side as a condition of any trademark lisence!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @ Morgan

      This is also why the Alpha Omega is taking the lead to keep the terms "Rosicrucian Order" free and clear.

      Due to the legal conflict, we did not really have the option regarding the term "Golden Dawn." We did the best we could under the circumstances. We were, at least, successful in preventing anyone from gaining COMPLETE hegemony over the term "Golden Dawn."

      You have brought up a wonderful idea though. The Alpha Omega would be quite willing to renegotiate the 2007 Settlement agreement, in an attempt to overcome the problem you mention and try find some way MUTUALLY disclaim the term "Golden Dawn."

      I wonder though, would the other party be willing to do this as well?

      Food for thought for our entire community.

      Delete
  14. Morgan makes a good point.

    It also appears to me that a sweeping gesture of peace and compromise has been made by the AO to address this issue.

    This is the stuff of the process on the road to strife's end. May it be received well and may the process continue.

    ReplyDelete