Dear Sanet Readers, ACRES readers, ATTRA readers, Any Others,
Please publish or forward this one to others and other lists. This is the
most important news that has come down in the history of American
biodynamics. We've finally got the chance to open up the public perception
of this revolutionary method of agriculture from the closed, clannish,
clubbish, esoteric doctrineness of the past. As long as Greg succeeds in
forcing Demeter and the BDA to put their trademark of the term biodynamic
in the public domain--where it belongs!--biodynamics can become mainstream.
If not, we will ultimately be in trouble on this list and elsewhere, as I
Please read on,
To Whomever Uses the Term "Biodynamic,"
It has really hit the fan.
I'm forcefully reminded of my original reaction upon finding out about
biodynamics 23 years ago. I'd thought, "This is really good farming. It
should be the sort of thing that is mainstream, conventional. It shouldn't
be relegated to the fringes, labeled with some specialized name! Let the
cheaters and poisoners have to explain what THEY are about. Biodynamics is
the real agriculture."
Back then I let Heinz Grotzke, who was president of the Biodynamic Farming
and Gardening Association (BDA), talk me out of using biodynamic as a
purely generic term. Heinz is a real gem of a fellow who corresponded with
me in prison and freely sent me biodynamic literature to read. He argued
that in addition to needing the parenting of the BDA, biodynamic
agriculture had to identify itself so folks would know it was not more of
the same old ruinous conventional stuff.
I could see biodynamics was something special, and I rationalized that
invoking the name biodynamic at most turns made it more obvious it is
something to be investigated. I mentioned this debate between me, Heinz and
myself in the introduction to Chapter II of my book, A BIODYNAMIC FARM,
published by ACRES, U.S.A. in 1994, to be reissued in January 2000. In many
ways I agree with Heinz and biodynamically grown is on all my signs when I
retail. It invites comment and educates consumers and farmers in nearby
At this point, however, the paralytic wrongness of hitching biodynamics to
a single organization is revealed. Biodynamic has to be a generic term
that's increasingly all-embracing without losing its unique goodness. If it
is, sooner or later a majority will see biodynamic as real agriculture and
the word biodynamic will be dropped for the sake of brevity. On the borders
of my thought I knew all along that Heinz was somehow in error, but I
couldn't get it in clear focus. Thanks to Greg Willis, however, it lit up
like Hiroshima at ground zero.
This is going to take a little more explanation, so hang in there.
Some BDnow readers may remember last year when Greg Willis waxed
hyperbolic, flaming such harsh invective against several high BD muckymucks
that he ended up self-propelled away from the list. He offended a whole
bunch of people, employing sixth grade insults, threats of lawsuits at the
drop of a hat and such like.
It's not the sort of thing I usually admire, but I'm not so much scared by
such things as I'm inclined to be wary. I was pretty sure that at the next
turn or the one after that I too would be a target of his peculiar posts.
I kept my eyes and ears open. It never came to that. All that happened was
I wrote to Greg privately and visited him face to face, confronting him
particularly about his attack on Steve Moore who was at that time the
president of the BDA. His response was I needed to trust him. He had good
reasons. He knew what he was doing, and I should just wait and see.
Well, Greg may sometimes be short on tact, patience or good taste, or maybe
he has an unusual ability to be an asshole when necessary. I don't know.
But I can say, knowing him first hand, I like him very much. He's one of
the most knowledgeable, perceptive, intuitive, and innovative people I know
in all of agriculture. In particular I'm indebted to him for the way he
went to work making and using biodynamic horn clay, the mising BD Prep. It
was real genius, which is to say he proceeded with intelligence, insight,
conviction and a lot of energy. Early on I picked up on his horn clay prep.
He sent me samples of several types and I put them to use along with my
field broadcaster work. It proved to be the most important new development
since Steiner's Ag Course 75 years ago. I was so impressed with the
difference it made in my biodynamic farm that I just about moved California
to get him to speak and teach at my Georgia Biodynamic Conference last
September. He came and I wasn't disappointed. He was superb.
It would be hard to find a more caring, hard working and extremely
insightful presenter of BD agriculture, though at this conference we also
had Harvey Lisle who has 42 years experience in this field and still is one
of the most innovative and forward looking people in American biodynamics.
Also there was myself (on my home turf) with my sense for the unity of
spirit and matter, the wonderfully enthusiastic Lee McWhorter of JPI which
is the backbone of biodynamics in America, Derek Trowbridge who, as his
slides and his wines showed, is a very accomplished biodynamic wine grower,
Jeff Poppen the Barefoot Farmer who is living proof that farming is fun as
well as a religious experience, and so on. The only thing lightweight about
this conference was the amount of publicity I got out ahead of time, but
that made it a more intimate experience for the lower than usual
I'm pretty sure Greg won the respect of everyone who attended, and I
believe one or two BDnow readers posted remarks to the list after the
conference that they came partly to see if Greg was anything like he seemed
in that series of postings--and found he was not. His insights and
demonstrations of superb finesse in stirring preps were so excellent they
should have all been on film, and as I understand it, Lee McWhorter
captured a fair bit of it on some reasonably professional video recordings
and will have these available. He's given me copies but I haven't had a
chance to view them yet.
So that's part of the background. There's more.
Back a few years ago there was a movement by the BDA to trademark the word
"Biodynamic" and its alias, "Bio-Dynamic." Chuck Beedy, the BDA Director,
and Jean Yeager, who is the present President of the BDA, explained this to
myself and other attendees at a Kimberton CSA Conference as an effort to
protect the term from use by just anyone who might decide to market their
latest coal tar perfume or synthetic rubber sneakers as biodynamic. After
all there was a real history and tradition behind this term and the idea
was the word maybe should be protected from cheap knock offs, as has, of
course, occurred with "organic" and "natural."
Down at the gut level I didn't like this idea and was reminded of my
original feeling that at some point we needed to make this method of
agriculture so mainstream, so ubiquitous that use of the term "biodynamic"
became passe and the bad farmers ended up with the extra nomenclature. I
suppose I had a queasy premonition that this was yet another initiative
that would keep biodynamics out on the far fringes. However, I'm not
usually a vociferous opponent of things that I can't pick out the flaw in
and only feel uneasy about. I usually rationalize and go along with things
though I know enough to keep my eyes open.
When I grew up in the newspaper business I always pasted up ads and copy by
eye rather than using t-square, right-triangle and centering rule. When I
spent four solid weeks cutting my driveway with a wheelbarrow and shovel, I
used no transit, string lines, stakes or tape measures. And I gauge how
much of this or that to add to the sauce by eye with no cups or measuring
spoons. If I had a dozer, no doubt I'd operate it by the seat of my pants.
I can be pretty perceptive, but I'm prone to dispense with using the finest
tools available for exact knowledge unless I believe it really
matters--like when adjusting the cylinder clearances of a web-offset
Hantcho magazine press for the perfect thickness of ink on glossy stock or
when using magnification, a level and vernier adjustments to read the
meniscus in a burette while titrating an acid to four decimal places plus
or minus three ten-thousandths. In this case I didn't ask someone with real
expertise in trademark law what all the implications were of trademarking a
term like "biodynamic."
But Greg did. I have to hand it to him.
One of the things he found out was if the Demeter ever comes after anyone
for using its trademark it can't afford to stop or it's discriminatory
prosecution. It's like sliding straight down a deep mineshaft on a quarter
inch greased cable. There's no stopping. It's the road to rigid orthodoxy.
I grant that someone like Disney Studios can afford to protect their
trademarks on Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck in court. And the Demeter
Association could probably afford to protect a trademark like "Demeter
Certified Biodynamic" because it already is so narrow it's defensible. But
that was not done, and the spectre of selective, preferential prosecution
ensures they cannot let anyone slide and use the term biodynamic without
the little circle symbol and a paid up subscription to Demeter's
It's one hell of a can of worms. Ultimately they'll have to make all
authors and publishers conform, the members of this list, and anyone not
certified biodynamic by Demeter. I more or less believed back when it first
was explained to me that pretty nearly all if not all the officers of the
BDA or Demeter didn't intend to go after anyone farming with some
understanding--whatever it might be--of Steiner's insights into
agriculture. But admittedly I'm uneasy with anything that paves the path to
enforced orthodoxy because that means stagnation and ultimately death. It
certainly doesn't have any place in biodynamic agriculture, as orthodox
biodynamic is the ripest of oxymorons.
You can read the details in Greg's documents following my post. It's in the
usual mind-numbing legalese, which I only read when I have to--but I read
this. One has to have some talent at bringing it to life, which my long
post is an effort to help with.
Greg brought the whole thing to a head by applying for a trademark on the
term BD preps since that's another generic term of long history just as is
biodynamic. I happen to know that Greg has the highest admiration and
praise for Hugh Courtney who after Josephine Porter's death took on a long
and arduous job bringing JPI into being to ensure the BD preps would be
available to anyone for the good of the earth, even the most benighted
souls with the blackest hearts in the most stygian darkness at the deepest
of black holes.
But the point is ensuring that biodynamics grows. It is masterful how Greg
perceived the need and step by step brought things to a head. On behalf of
JPI, the BDA and Demeter, Aleen Rothschild-Seidel, Attorney at Law,
Washington, DC, petitioned the US Patent and Trademark Office requesting an
extension of time to oppose the Agri-Synthesis, Inc. application for
trademark on the term BD Preps--once on November 26, 1999 and again on
December 28, 1999.
It is the December 28th request that really tears it. In the second
paragraph the silo opens and the ICBM appears. This paragraph starts by
saying the Demeter Association certifies Biodynamic farms and processors
and owns the certification mark BIODYNAMIC, Registration No. 2,286,984 and
they are opposing Agri-Synthesis, Inc.'s application to trademark the term
BD Preps. Shades of nuclear brinksmanship. In other words, they got their
trademark and they don't want Greg to get any ammo to fight back if or
rather when they lower the boom on his use of the term biodynamic.
Considering the present course that seems inevitable.
I leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions. I highly recommend
this as I believe folks will think of many things I haven't. So far I see
it as essential to living in good faith for the Demeter Association to
place their trademark of the term Biodynamic in the public domain, thus
protecting the future of biodynamics from orthodoxy and stagnation. And
going 75 years with roughly 50 Demeter certified BD farms here in the US
seems stagnant to me. If the Demeter Association wants a trademark they
should apply for something suitable like "Demeter Certified Biodynamic."
In fervent sincerity,
Author of A BIODYNAMIC FARM, published by ACRES, U.S.A.
Union Agricultural Institute
8475 Dockery Road
Blairsville, Georgia 30512
P.S. Those who want to see biodynamics in the public domain need to lend
Greg all the support they can in this matter. While it could get messy, if
Demeter was to realize what they are up against I believe they would
capitulate without harm or weaponry and put their trademark in the public
domain, thus protecting the term biodynamic from Monsanto or Du Pont while
making it available to all. Greg's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
and his Agri-Synthesis website address is http://www.agsyn.com. A brief
statement of your support and the reasons for your support would probably
be a good start. This is so hot off the stove there hasn't been time yet to
organize much else.
So. Everyone out there in biodynamic-land thinks that each of us has
the right to use the word "biodynamic" as it relates to any product or
produce we make and/or sell - no strings attached. Well, think again
folks. Read it and weep (attachments). Two years ago I tried and tried
to get BD people to realize what demeter and the bda were up to.
Unfortunately what I predicted has now come true. They've notified me,
through their attorney, of their intent to file a lawsuit against us
unless we (Agri-Synthesis, Inc,) withdraw our application for a
trademark on the words "BD PREPS" with the Patent and Trademark Office.
In my humble opinion, guess who's next? You are. Read on. It's not
just about "BD PREPS". It's about you.
I will put the correspondence we received from their attorney, Aleen
Rothschild-Seidel, up on our website at http://www.agsyn.com as soon as
I can. She says she represents demeter, JPI and the bda against
Agri-Synthesis, Inc. and me personally. It says in part:
"The Demeter association certifies Biodynamic farms and processors and
is the owner of the certification mark BIODYNAMIC, Registration
"The Demeter Association is opposing the registration of the mark [BD
PREPS] on behalf of the association and also on behalf of its certified
Biodynamic farms and processors."
"Consumers interested in Biodynamic farming and gardening associate the
term BD PREPS with the high-quality goods produced by the JPI. If
Agri-Synthesis[sic] uses this phrase for its products, there is a high
likihood that the public will be confused as to the source of the
goods. It is unfair competition as well as an infringement of JPI's
common law trademark rights for Agri-Synthesis[sic] to 'pass off' its
products as those of JPI or to capitalize on the good will created by
JPI over the years. It would furthermore tarnish the reputation of JPI
if the Agri-Synthesis[sic] goods were confused with JPI's."
"We request that Agri-Synthesis [sic] immediately cease and disist
using the mark BD PREPS on its products and that it withdraw its
application for aregistration of the mark in order to avoid potentially
We believe that we have a very strong case and that we will win the
trademark rights to "BD PREPS" should we choose to pursue it. At first
we were reasonably certain of this (or we would not have made
application) but in the past 24 hours, new information has come to us
which indicates that (a) JPI was not the first to use nor publish the
phrase "BD PREPS" which eliminates their claim of originality (prior
usage by others doing so) and (b) at least one and possibly several
other people have been selling "BD PREPS" in the United States over the
years and neither JPI, demeter nor the bda ever objected to the usage of
the term, an action (or, more properly, neglect) which by definition
vitiates their claim of exclusivity. This makes our case much stronger.
In addition, we now have in our possession extremely damaging evidence
of neglect and deception which we believe mortally wounds any potential
claims and objections they might have, evidence which we will reveal
through the proper venue when appropriate. Therefore, despite their
demands and threats, we will most likely vigorously pursue our
application as originally planned. It is neither our intent nor desire
to tear the biodynamic community asunder on this issue. However, what's
good for the goose is good for the gander. Our intent and desire is to
ferret out the truth and, when discovered, take appropriate and proper
action that is for the good of all biodynamic agriculture.
Whether or not "BD PREPS" should be trademarked is the exclusive
prerogative of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, not the bda, not
demeter, not JPI and certainly not some high-priced Washington D.C.
lawyer who thinks she knows how to sling the legal bullshit in the hope
that she can scare us into withdrawing our application. It is our
opinion that, for whatever reason, she has her facts wrong and we can
(JPI has never attempted to register "BD PREPS" as a trademark. Nor has
demeter or the bda attempted to register "BD PREPS". Further musings:
even though demeter, JPI and the bda are separate non-profit
corporations, there are board members who have a seat on two different
boards e.g. anne mendenhall who sits on both demeter and the bda. I
wonder if ms. mendehall votes the bda member's dues over to support
demeter, or does she abstain. If she does, in my opinion, it's sort of
lining one's own pocket, in a manner of speaking. There is also a
question of whether or not demeter can maintian its status as a 501(c)3
nonprofit if they own a trademark for which they charge for the usage.
On the other hand, if they don't charge, would it be a restraint of
trade if they limit the usage of "BIODYNAMIC" exclusively to those whom
they certify? Hmmm. But I digress. Interesting questions, though.)
We will, of course, make a formal objection with the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office on the registration of the word "BIODYNAMIC" which we
consider generic owing to the fact that it has been in use in this
country since at least 1938. And wwe encourage everyone to contact the
PTO and do the same. But this is not enough.
Agri-Synthesis, Inc. has already spent over $5,000.00 in legal fees
trying to head off this disaster for you and all of us in the field of
biodynamic agriculture, and to make it possible to expand biodynamics in
the United States and the world, which in my opinion as you know,
demeter and the bda have woefully failed to do. What is at stake here
is not only your future as a biodynamic farmer selling your produce as
"biodynamic" but of all biodynamic gardners, farmers and practitioners
in the United States. This is, in my opinion, the battle for the future
of biodynamic agriculture in the United States.
Although we are confident that we will convince the PTO to deny the
registration of "BIODYNAMIC" by demeter, Agri-Synthesis, Inc. cannot
carry this burden alone. We need your help. Demeter/bda/JPI must be
made to understand that there is widespread opposition to their
co-opting the commonly accepted, used and understood term "BIODYNAMIC"
and that their registration is a blatent and cynical attempt to control
your business and mine. The word "BIODYNAMIC" has been published and in
use in this country since at least 1938 and is commonly understood to
describe a generally understood practice of farming. That fact that
demeter would even consider trying to legally control this word by
registering the WORD!!! as a trademark, in an extremely broadly worded
definition (see the attachment) that encompasses virtually everything
grown biodynamically in the United States, is, in my opinion,
reprehensible, irresponsible and short-sighted and will cause the
existing schism in the biodynamic community to go deeper and wider than
ever before. The consequences for humanity are alarming, at the very
So we plead with you to help resolve this problem. We know that you and
all of the BD practitioners understand that if demeter/bda/JPI go after
me and are successful, you're next. It's as the Presbyterian minister
said of Hitler in Nazi Germany. To paraphrase, "When they came for the
Jews, I didn't object because I was not Jewish; when they came for the
trade unionists, the homosexuals and the Gypsys, I did nothing because I
was not one of them. When they came after the others, I did not defend
them either. Finally, when they came for me, there was no one left to
Do we really want this to happen to biodynamic agriculture in the United
States? What sort of example will this set for the rest of world to
follow? Do you now see the consequences? I predicted it was going to
happen two years ago and now it HAS happened. What does it take to get
Please understand something very important here. This is not about our
application for the use of the phrase "BD PREPS". This is about YOUR
right to use the word "BIODYNAMIC" freely and without restraint as you
and others have done in this country for over 60 years.
Demeter/bda/JPI cannot selectively enforce their trademark rights. They
cannot sue me but not YOU because that allows me to sue them for
selective enforcement, restraint of trade, malicious prosecution and so
on. They have to sue EVERYBODY or they lose their right to sue
ANYBODY. It never ends. The ULTIMATE Pandora's Box which will, in my
humble opinion, ultimately destroy the biodynamic agriculture movement
in this country, not to mention, in my opinion, backfire on demeter, the
bda AND JPI.
In my humble opinion, as I have stated repeatedly over the past two
years, for biodynamic agriculture, this legal manuvering and abuse of
the trademark process by demeter/bda to gain by whatever means, ethical
or unethical, absolute control over biodynamic agriculture in this
county, with the attendant denial of our right to use the word
'biodynamic" with the sale of our products, without the prior approval
of the Demeter Association, Inc. (for which I would assume we and you
would pay cash money) is the single most destructive act, and most
self-destructive act, in the history biodynamic agriculture in the
United States and must be put to stop now.
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>> <http://tarr.uspto.gov/servlet/tarr?regser=serial&entry=75323736 >
>>Word MarkBIODYNAMIC Pseudo MarkBIO-DYNAMIC Owner Name(REGISTRANT)
>>Demeter Association, Inc. Owner AddressBritt Road Aurora NEW YORK 13026
>>CORPORATION MASSACHUSETTS Attorney of RecordALEEN ROTHSCHILD-SEIDEL
>>Serial Number75-323736 Registration Number2286984 Filing Date07/14/1997
>>Registration Date10/19/1999 Mark Drawing Code(1) TYPED DRAWING
>>RegisterPRINCIPAL Other Registration Info.1999266 Published for
>>Opposition07/27/1999 Type of MarkCERTIFICATION MARK Other DataThe
>>certification mark as used by authorized persons certifies that the
>>organic agricultural products or applications have been grown and
>>processed in accordance with guidelines set out in the attached
>>"guidelines and standards for the grower for demeter biodynamic
>>certification and Organic-in-Transition to Biodynamic." These guidelines
>>set high standards for certifying organic products, and cover matters
>>such as building natural soil fertility; using natural methods to
>>increase crop resistance to fungal, bacterial and pest attacks; raising
>>livestock; and storage and processing. The guidelines prohibit use of
>>chemically synthesized fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, fumigants,
>>hormones, antibiotics, growth regulators or genetically engineered
>> International ClassA Goods and Servicesagricultural products and
>>applications, including various types of agricultural food and fiber
>>products and processed food products; DATE OF FIRST USE: 1985.07.00; DATE
>>OF FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 1985.07.00
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Thank you for your request. Here are the latest results.
Serial Number: 75323736
Registration Number: 2286984
Trademark (words only): BIODYNAMIC
Current Status: Registered.
Date of Status: 1999-10-19
Filing Date: 1997-07-14
1. Demeter Association, Inc.
GOODS AND SERVICES
agricultural products and applications, including various types of
agricultural food and fiber products and processed food products
1999-10-19 - REGISTERED-PRINCIPAL REGISTER
1999-07-27 - PUBLISHED FOR OPPOSITION
1999-06-25 - NOTICE OF PUBLICATION
1999-04-07 - APPROVED FOR PUB - PRINCIPAL REGISTER
1999-04-05 - ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER
1999-03-10 - COMMUNICATION RECEIVED FROM APPLICANT
1999-02-08 - NON-FINAL ACTION MAILED
1998-09-03 - COMMUNICATION RECEIVED FROM APPLICANT
1998-06-22 - NON-FINAL ACTION MAILED
1998-05-08 - COMMUNICATION RECEIVED FROM APPLICANT
1998-04-13 - NON-FINAL ACTION MAILED
1998-03-18 - ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER
1998-03-18 - ASSIGNED TO EXAMINER
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 23:52:54 +0000
From: Greg Willis <email@example.com>
To: Allan Balliett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: Hugh Lovel <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Biodynamic trademark
Allan Balliett wrote:
Greg - Do you mind if I forward this information to BD Now!? -Allan
You may put this on bdnow if you like. I would hope you do so.
Allan and Hugh,
I believe that Hugh has already taken care of that so please do not
forward it yourself. This is very serious business and I consider this
the single greatest threat to biodynamics and the advancement of the
biodynamic movement in the history of BD in this country.
I consider it so important that I signed on bdnow temporarily to read
how people respond to this. In that regard, I received an email from
envirolink that said:
"Subscription requests are not automatic for this list. Your request has
been forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org for approval."
I assume that this will not be a problem.
You may be interested to know that the Kaliskos used the term
"Bio-Dynamic" in their book Agriculture Of Tomorrow written in 1939.
This is the oldest reference to the term I can find in my books and it
certainly predates demeter's claimed first use in July, 1985.
I quote from page 288 in Agriculture Of Tomorrow:
"Bio-Dynamic Farming means: Farming according to the suggestions of
Rudolf Steiner. We do not find the name 'Bio-Dynamic' a very good one,
therefore it has not been used in this book. So many movements and
remedies exist which have similar sounding names, that we have preferred
to call the method quite simply by the name of its founder, Rudolf
This statement implies that the term was in use before 1939 as well
which is a benchmark of some kind.
It would be helpful if someone out there in BDLand would do a complete
academic history of the creation and use of the term "BIODYNAMIC" so
that we could present it to the Patent and Trademark Office in an effort
to get this mark canceled. Perhaps Malcolm Gardner would be up to the
task since he seems to be the most academically credentialed man in U.S.
Clearly demeter/bda took the term which was in common usage at least
since 1939, a period of at about 50 years, and appropriated it for their
own use and enrichment. The evidence I now have indicates that the same
thing happened with the term "BD PREPS" although I seriously doubt if
Hugh Courtney appropriated it with the intent of keeping it for himself
or JPI exclusively. Especially since the history of the use of the term
indicates that JPI never objected to its use by anyone else. I merely
applied for it at the suggestion of my patent attorney to bring this
"BIODYNAMIC" thing to a head.
It would be a grave error if someone, on behalf of biodynamics in
general, did not oppose the registration of "BIODYNAMIC" as a trademark,
especially since it is so broadly written. BTW, this broad based
definition is also a weakness since it is, in reality, impossible for
them to defend it. With this mark in the possession of demeter, who can
call what they produce and sell "BIODYNAMIC" without infringing on their
In that regard, I and my company Agri-Synthesis, Inc. will oppose the
registration of the mark or our own behalf, on behalf of all of all BD
practitioners and on behalf of humanity which also will suffer from this
blunder. It would be very helpful if a chorus of voices in opposition
to it were to come from bdnow and other lists around the country. It is
a sad commentary on the state of the biodynamic movement in the U.S.
that so many people like you and me, and thousands of others who have
worked so hard and selflessly to bring BD into reality in this country,
only to see our efforts undermined by demeter/bda and suffer the loss of
what many of us of hold so dear - the pride of accomplishment of
bringing biodynamic agriculture or gardening to our own property, and,
in my case, the farms of my clients.
It may be helpful to know that my attorneys have requested copies of all
the official documents concerning this matter from the PTO so that we
may trace the history of their application. When I get it, I will make
it available to anyone who wants a copy if they pay for the copy cost
You know, with regard to the BD community, this application was done in
total secrecy by demeter and the bda. The application was made on March
14, 1997 and after about two and a half years and after three denials
(which is VERY unusual and indicates that the PTO examiner had serious
reservations about this mark), the mark was finally Published For
Opposition by the PTO on July 27, 1999. (Did demeter notify you or
anyone you know of this?) It was registered as a trademark with the
Principal Registrant listed as "Demeter Association, Inc." on October
You would think that with something as important as this is, something
which has a direct impact on thousands if not millions of people, that
demeter/bda would have launched a public relations blitz to garner the
support of all the BD community and to assure that there would be no
controversy. But their secretive activity says to me, at least, that
they knew it was wrong when they did it and they knew that the only way
to get the mark registered was to conduct the process in secret. As I
recall, I was the only one to raise an objection last year and that was
completely ignored. So now the chickens have come home to roost but it
is not too late.
U.S. law states that we have five years from the time the mark is
registered to file an Opposition for Cancellation of the mark. That
does not mean we can be complacent. Every year that goes by does more
damage to biodynamics, demeter and the bda. Unfortunately, or
fortunately depending on your point of view, we in biodynamics are
interrelated and interconnected. Any thing that one person does has
some effect, great or small, on everyone else. And being a relatively
small community, that effect is only amplified for each of us
I assure you and Hugh that to an person, my clients are outraged (and
"outraged" is the kindest comment I heard) at demeter's usurpation of
their efforts to convert to biodynamic agriculture for the obvious (in
their view) and inevitable enrichment of demeter/bda. They are not
happy and will probably join in the Opposition for Cancellation of the
registration of the mark.
I would be pleased to add your name and anyone else's name to the
Cancellation filing and I will publish the name and address of our
attorney in Towson, MD handling it should you request it. In my
opinion, anne mendenhall has acted in the very same way that she
criticized so vehemently when the USDA tried to co-opt and redefine the
In my humble opinion, no amount of explaining or rationalizing by
mendenhall, in the official capacity as president of demeter
association, inc., can justify what they have done and even more
importantly, the way she and demeter/bda did it.
The only action that demeter/bda can take now that would save face, save
their reputation (which I suspect is already permanently damaged), save
the reputation of the bda (which I suspect is also permanently damaged),
show the world that we in the biodynamic community really ascribe to the
high-minded principles that Rudolf Steiner espoused and avoid a very
public and very costly legal battle is to assign their mark "BIODYNAMIC"
to the Public Domain. This would eliminate the controversy, save them
and bda a ton of money and assuage their fears that Monsanto or Dupont
might go after the mark before they got it. This would be a selfless
and charitable act on their part but in light of the way they have
conducted this business so far, I doubt that they are ready to take it
at this time. Perhaps pressure from the BD community at large will
encourage them to take this step for the benefit of all. Shame on anne
mendenhall, shame on demeter, shame on the bda and shame on the board
members of each organization for supporting this internecine debacle.
They obviously never considered the consequences.
Greg Willis Date: Thu, 30 Dec 1999 23:52:54 +0000
From: Greg Willis <email@example.com>
To: Allan Balliett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: Hugh Lovel <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Biodynamic trademark
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