Thursday, August 12, 2010

6th Circuit Upholds Trademark Infringement Claims By Seventh Day Adventist Church

In General Conference Corporation of Seventh Day Adventists v. McGill, (6th Cir., Aug. 10, 2010), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected efforts by defendant to obtain dismissal of various trademark infringement claims against him brought by two Seventh Day Adventist organizations. Defendant broke away from the Seventh Day Adventist Church and began his own congregation (which has 3 members). He called the new religious organization the Creation Seventh Day & Adventist Church. Defendant believed he was divinely mandated to use the Seventh Day Adventist name. The court refused to carve out a new exception under trademark law for disputes involving religious use of intellectual religious property. It also rejected defendant's claim that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act applies to the case, holding that RFRA applies only in suits against the government. It also agreed with the district court that the "Seventh Day Adventist" trademark is valid and that defendant's use of the mark is likely to cause confusion among the public. (See prior related posting.)