European TM case and Swiss OIF Ruling

Letters / Opinions Osho TM & ©

An update on the present court cases regarding the European TM case and the Swiss Ruling for OIF, Zurich.

For many years the German Osho Centers have been meeting annually to exchange information, discuss different topics concerning the activities of the centers and also to find ways to support each other in keeping Osho’s vision alive and fresh. The place where the meetings are scheduled rotate, so that each center can be valued as a unique expression of sannyasins and their love for Osho. This year the meeting commenced at Osho Parimal an July 25 and 26, 2014.

Requested by the participants of the meeting and the community of the Osho Parimal Center, Ramateertha was asked to give an update on the situation in the Osho Trademark Case – specifically the recent court ruling on the matter in Spain and the suspension of the board of directors of Osho Foundation International in Berne, Switzerland.

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Speaking on the first subject, Ramateertha said that the dismissal of the request to cancel the Trademark had come as a great shock, but that the grounds for the decision were more stunning:

In the grounds for its ruling, the court claimed that the evidence submitted was so complex that it was not possible to properly assess its relevance. Seeing that the court itself had initiated a full four rounds of discovery in the case – the normal number would be no more than two – this conclusion seems to be nothing less than a mockery. With this as the starting-point, the court then ruled that the Trademark should be permitted to continue to exist, based on the simple prima facie fact that it has already existed for fourteen years.

In its substantiation the court also set forth that Osho was not a man of the caliber of a Buddha or Jesus, but that he rather belonged to the same category as individuals with trademarked names like Moshé Feldenkrais or Ron Hubbard (Scientology), and that his methods could thus very well be afforded the protection of a trademark.

In the reasons laid out for their decision, the judges did not even mention the actual subject of the dispute, which was that the name Osho stands for a person and his vision and not for a commercial good. Ramateertha said that in view of this it would be likely that he and his associates would file an appeal against the decision, which at the time of writing has already been done.

Regarding the situation in Berne, it was reported that OIF is over-indebted by more than nine million Swiss francs, and that the foundation’s status as a charity was revoked by the Swiss tax authorities in 2012. Among other things there is concrete evidence indicating that money that was actually due to the Foundation has been redirected into other channels – possibly into private companies of which former Foundation board members are beneficiaries. This, in turn, led to the suspension of the board members and the freezing of OIF’s accounts by the Swiss Government. An administrator was appointed to take care of the most immediate necessities of the Foundation. The suspended board has now been given the opportunity to respond to the accusations, and everyone involved is eagerly awaiting their response.

All those present were deeply moved by Ramateertha’s report and there was a spontaneous expression of support for the work.

Related articles
OIF: Swiss Ruling
European TM Case (Update)

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