Why Do We Have Trademarks?
In the fall 1998 issue of URANTIAN News, we included an article on the Foundation's trademarks—the words "URANTIA" and "URANTIAN" and the Concentric-Circles Symbol. From time to time, the Foundation informs readers about the necessity and benefit of having trademarks, service marks, and collective membership marks as a means to identify our products and services and to distinguish them from other sources providing similar products or services.
When the Foundation's copyright in The URANTIA Book expires in the year 2050, there may be multiple publishers of The URANTIA Book. Some of them may not publish the inviolate text. But readers and potential readers will be able to identify the inviolate text, published by URANTIA Foundation, because it will bear the Concentric-Circles Symbol.
In an article from the Publishers Marketing Association newsletter of February 1999, titled "Trademark Law: An Overview," Ivan Hoffman writes the following:
In sum, owners of trademarks are not necessarily "evil" if they rigorously enforce their intellectual property. They must do so if they are to protect their commercial asset. And while, if you are not the owner of such a mark you may object to what you deem to be "restrictive" policies, keep in mind that you too benefit from the protection afforded by trademark law. If you want a particular brand of a product or service, you want to be assured that what you are buying is what you are getting. If the owner of that mark does not protect the mark, at some point you too may be a victim of the confusion that may result. (©1996, 1998 Ivan Hoffman)
URANTIA Foundation has used the Circles as a mark since 1950. This fact (in addition to the fact that the Circles are a registered mark of URANTIA Foundation) gives the Foundation the right to decide on the use of the Circles, as that use relates to activities and organizations with which the Circles might be associated, and to publications on which the Circles might be affixed. If there were no such ownership of the marks, the Circles might be used to give credibility to publications, activities, and organizations either promoting personal interpretations of The URANTIA Book or having little or nothing to do with its teachings.
After 2050, when the copyright expires, readers will know how to identify the inviolate text of The URANTIA Book because The URANTIA Book, published under the auspices of URANTIA Foundation, will bear the Concentric-Circles Symbol.
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