OSHO International Foundation Zurich (the legal holder of trademarks and copyrights related to OSHO) have lost the trademark of the word “OSHO” as related to meditations and related usages. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board found that “the term OSHO is generic for the meditations devised by the mystic OSHO and the meditation and religious movement arising therefrom. As a result defendant [OIF] cannot foreclose others from utilizing the term OSHO to describe their own goods and services based upon such meditations and movements.”
The decision effects 13 different trademarks or usages of the word OSHO. It is the result of an opposition lodged by OSHO Friends International against OSHO International Foundation (OFI v OIF). OFI also accused OIF of committing fraud by registering the trademarks, but this was not upheld by the courts decision.
The opposition case was started in November 2000 after OIF had filed for the trademark to OSHO Active Meditations (they had previously filed for trademarks starting in April 1999). A full time line is available here. The full decision from the court is available from the United States Patent and Trademark Office
FROM USPTO site:
“DECISION: plaintiff’s petition to cancel is hereby granted on the ground of genericness as to Registration Nos. 1815840, 2180173 and 2174607. Plaintiff’s petition to cancel is further granted on the ground of mere descriptiveness as to Registration No. 2322901. Accordingly, these registrations will be cancelled in due course.
Plaintiff’s oppositions to the registration of application Serial Nos. 75834601; 76159554; 76159553; 76060676; 75683097; 76210213; 76158894; 76158895; and 76158893 are sustained on the ground of mere descriptiveness.
Here are the trademarks effected:
1) OSHO ACTIVE MEDITATIONS in application serial No. 75834601.
2) OSHO ZEN TAROT, Application Serial No. 76159554
3) OSHO TRANSFORMATION TAROT, App Ser No 76159553
4) OSHO KUNDALINI MEDITATION, App Ser No 76060676
5) OSHO App Ser No 75683097
6) OSHO NADABRAHMA MEDITATION App Ser No 76210213
7) OSHO MEDITATION RESORT App Ser No 76158894
8. OSHO MULTIVERSITY App Ser No 76158895
9) OSHO TIMES App Ser No 76158893
10) OSHO REBALANCING App Ser No 2322901
The case involved testimony from many sannyasins, in particular from OSHO Deepta (Yogananda, Sangeet, Krishna Priya, Sudhasadan) in California, OSHO Viha and OSHOWorld.com.
OSHOWorld has written a beautiful letter:
A great day… below messages from OSHO World and OSHO VIHA….
Beloveds of OSHO
As i write this my heart is so fill…..of what cannot say…of gratitude, of love, of rememberance of Him, of…. Feels impossible to write.
CONGRATULATIONS to all of you… His lovers….we won!
OSHO is now… freely available to all His lovers.
Message from our attorneys to whom we will always be filled with gratitude.
“We won! We won! We won! Congratulations to all of you!”
USPTO granted our petitions filed to cancel and granted our oppositions to all of OIF’s OSHO trademark registrations and applications. It is a beautiful opinion.
We succeeded in simplifying the lengthy and complex record sufficiently so the Board obviously was able to grasp what was going on in this case.
The following are some of the more noteworthy statements by the Board.
“Based upon the testimony and evidence of record, we find that the primary significance of OSHO is as a religious or meditative movement, and not as a source identifier for goods or services.”
“…this term is generic and should be freely available for use by competitors. … As a result, defendant cannot appropriate the term OSHO to identify the source of its goods and services related to such teachings.”
The Board concluded: “Based upon the foregoing, we find the term OSHO is generic for the meditations devised by the mystic OSHO and the meditative and religious movement arising therefrom. As a result, defendant cannot foreclose others from utilizing the term OSHO to
describe their own goods and services based upon such meditations and movements.”
The Board sustained our action based on the grounds of genericness and/or the term being merely descriptive. It said that it therefore did not feel it was necessary to reach the other issues.
It is a beautiful decision and a great victory in a team effort. On a personal note, I congratulate all of His lovers for this fabulous result and thank you for all of your efforts in this cause.
Thank you thank you thank you……
Let us now freely go forward to let Him do His work….
LOVE U all His Lovers.
And the following letter from Sangeet (one of the legal representatives involved):
There was a big win for religiousness over religion in the US today. Obama is being sworn in and OSHO is free for all to use: it’s a happy New Year indeed.
The US trademark board released it’s decision in the OSHO case today, after 10 years of litigation. The opinion was very strongly worded and unanimous. The board ruled that “OSHO” is used to refer to meditations and the movement that arose around the teachings of the person OSHO. It isn’t a brand of products produced by OSHO International Foundation
This means that “OSHO” must be available for all OSHO’s people to use to describe what they’re doing. OIF cannot keep others from using OSHO. Every trademark challenged by OSHO Friends was canceled or denied.
This is the best possible decision we could have hoped for. It steps over all the arguments about who owned what trademarks and whether anyone licensed anyone else. In essence, this decision simply says that there is no trademark. Since the name “OSHO” means a certain
approach to meditation and a whole movement, it can’t be a trademark for anyone, ever.
Many thanks to everyone who helped with this, who stood up and were counted. All the witnesses that OSHO Friends called were cited in the footnotes of the decision, but there were particular quotes from the testimony of Dhanyam (Rosansky), Krishna Priya (Hemenway), and Maniko (Dadigan). Telling the truth does have power!
I’m attaching the decision. Please pass this great news on to anyone on your address list who might like to celebrate.
Source : Sannyasworld.com