Trademarking Your Religion

At the Washington Post’s “Under God” blog, a story about how the Seventh-Day Adventist church guards its trademark—even against other Adventists.

This has got me thinking: will all religions end up trademarked? Do you need intellectual-property lawyers and copyright lawyers to be a “real religion”?

Imagine trademarking “Witch.” Someone in Salem, Mass., is probably thinking about it already.

7 thoughts on “Trademarking Your Religion

  1. Apparently the Caliphate OTO tried to copyright the word “Thelema” but somehow it never actually happened, from what I can gather. I do think they have copyright on several components of the OTO/ Thelema / Crowley however. Actually, I’m vague on the facts, I’m going now to get someone to contribute to this post who is more knowledgable. Back soon.

  2. 93 Caroline –
    Many folk wonder whether that might not be the next step! But in this case I think you might be talking about UK trademark protection on emblems such as “The Rose Cross Lamen” & name “Ordo Templi Orientis” /OTO, which I think may have recently been registered – although there were objections. Not sure if this the same as trademarking a religion such as Thelema, I personally hope this wont be next : )

    _Copyrights_ is another issue and refer to Aleister Crowley’s literary estate. AFAIK he died bankrupt in 1947 – and this remained undischarged intil quite recently circa 1979 when a UK member of the Caliphate OTO noticed the discrepancy and it was paid off allowing the copyrights to pass to the buyer. (Shame the receiver did not invite other bids : )

    European term of copyright for books is one of the longest, currently 70 years from death of the author. So we have to wait I think another 9 years for it to lapse. I’m sure many will heave a collective sign of relief when it does, imo it will trigger a mini renaisance in Thelemic publishing…



    1. hi Caroline

      sorry i was in need of sleeping in the UK when your email got to me. Mogg got there before me with agreat answer, so yes to what he says! With the addition that the former Typhonian OTO now have to call themselves the Typhonian Order, due to a court battle over ownership of the initials- there are several threads over on which give a lot of detail

      Dave E

  3. PS: I didn’t mean the “Rose Cross Lamen” , the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn emblem which I think was also the object of a modern trademarking exercise. But in this instance I meant to say the “OTO Lamen” – ie vesica pisces, dove and cup.

  4. Pitch313

    Things cannot be too good on the spirituality side when religions consider themselves to be “brands.” I cling without marketing mind to the distinction between prayers to a deity and purchases of a product.

    Anyhow, dibs on “Jahweh” for my upcoming brand of recyclable wehs.

  5. Hi Mogg, Dave, Pitch…

    Yeah, it wasn’t trademarking, or copyrighting the _religion_ Thelema, it was the _word_ “Thelema”… I really need to work out where I heard that from though. Was it the Academic Study of Magic email list, or was it from within the OTO, I can’t remember. Probably shouldn’t be mentioning it on tbe internet without getting my facts absoloutely straight. But one thing is straight, that I definately heard it said by an OTO insider.

Comments are closed.