THE URANTIA BOOK SYNERGIST - SPECIAL ISSUE SUMMER 1989
Center for URANTIA Book Synergy Embroiled in Legal Struggle with URANTIA Foundation
Defends rights of believers to openly identify with Urantia Revelation
URANTIA FOUNDATION HAS stunned many of the Urantia Movement faithful by filing papers in the US District Court in Los Angeles failing to affirm, and thus denying the authenticity of The Urantia Book as an Epochal religious Revelation.
This bizarre development is an outgrowth of the Foundation's lawsuit against Center for URANTIA Book Synergy, Inc. and the Center's counterclaim against the Foundation.
The real problem started when personal communication between the organizations was terminated by the Foundation, which subsequently filed a lawsuit against C.U.B.S. in an effort to force it to abandon the name it has operated under since 1983. The Foundation's suit accuses the Center for URANTIA Book Synergy of trademark infringement and of attempting to commercially exploit the trademark of URANTIA Foundation by using the word "Urantia" in their organization's name. (As you may know, the Center for URANTIA Book Synergy, Inc. is an all-volunteer non-profit organization whose outreach ministry includes retailing The Urantia Book within the movement at a substantial discount.) C.U.B.S. denies the allegations, and further contends that they are not using the trademarked word "Urantia", but the title of the Revelation, The Urantia Book.
Members of Center for URANTIA Book Synergy, Inc., loyal to Michael and devoted to The Urantia Book, feel deeply that they have a spiritual and legal right to identify with the Fifth Epochal Revelation, The Urantia Book, just as do believers in the Fourth Epochal Revelation, Jesus, have the unquestioned right to identify and witness to that Revelation by using such terms as "Christ" or "Christian" in the names of their organizations.
The Foundation's complaint against Center for URANTIA Book Synergy makes no mention of the true nature and meaning of the word "Urantia". For C.U.B.S., however, this is a religious matter of profound importance. They wanted to make certain the court understands exactly what "Urantia" means and that The Urantia Book is an Epochal religious Revelation and symbolic of the personal religion of each member. In their defense and counterclaim for cancellation of the trademarks based on the legal "doctrine of unclean hands," therefore, C.U.B.S. spelled out facts about "Urantia" and The Urantia Book to which the Foundation was required to reply.
Dedicated proponents of the Urantia Revelation were shocked at URANTIA Foundation's response to these stated facts. The Foundation failed to admit and therefore denied the truth concerning the true nature and origin of The Urantia Book. The included summary of relevant portions of the counterclaim by the Center for URANTIA Book Synergy, Inc. with the Foundation's official answer as filed with the US District Court, together with explanatory notes, should underscore the great importance of the issues involved in this crucial case.
Why would URANTIA Foundation equivocate on the meaning of the words "Urantia" and "Urantian", and on the true nature of The Urantia Book? Only the Foundation knows for sure, but possibly it has to do with the manner in which they acquired trademark rights to those terms.
In the course of preparing its defense, Center for URANTIA Book Synergy, Inc. discovered evidence that suggests that the Foundation, in obtaining the trademark registrations, may have failed to disclose vital information pertinent to the decision by the trademark examiner on whether or not registrations.
Specifically, the Center for URANTIA Book Synergy, Inc. alleges that URANTIA Foundation knowingly concealed material facts from the Trademark Office that would have legally prevented their attempt to gain exclusive ownership and control of the terms "Urantia", "Urantian", and the material emblem of the Paradise Trinity of all creation - the banner of Michael - the three concentric circles.
Suppose, for example, that the Church of Christ attempted to trademark the term "Christ" and "Christian" as well as the cross symbol as their exclusive property, with the intention of preventing anyone from using the terms without their approval. Sound preposterous? It is. And that's why the law traditionally operates to prevent this type of private appropriation of public terms.
So how did the Foundation do it? The article titled, The Foundation's Trademarks: How They Got Them and What They're Doing with Them provides detailed information from the official records of the US Trademark Office which we believe clearly documents how URANTIA Foundation concealed the true meanings and religious significance of the words "Urantia" and "Urantian" and thus circumvented the trademark laws of the United States. The marks could be subject to cancellation if C.U.B.S. has to prove their true meanings in court.
While it's impossible to know in advance how individual URANTIA Foundation Trustees will plead in court, documents already filed by the Foundation in response to C.U.B.S.' counterclaim seem to indicate that they do not intend to affirm the fact that The Urantia Book is an Epochal religious Revelation as the Center for URANTIA Book Synergy, Inc. contends.
What would be the effect of a court ruling in favor of URANTIA Foundation?
It's impossible to envision all the consequences, but they would be far reaching and could, we believe, be irreparably harmful to the credibility of The Urantia Book. For instance, at some future time when The Urantia Book may be under attack, how damaging will it be when researchers discover that the book's publisher has legally refused to admit that it is what it purports to be, an Epochal Revelation? Will universities and seminaries be more inclined to take seriously The Urantia Book if this becomes known?
If the court rules that The Urantia Book is not a religious Revelation, then what is it -- some theoretical work of philosophy or cosmology, or a piece of science fiction? Would such a ruling legally strip the Urantia Movement of the benefits, exemptions and protections which the Constitution of the United States and laws of other countries provide for all religious movements?
The Center for URANTIA Book Synergy, Inc. believes this possibility is a grave danger to the well being of the Urantia Revelation and must be prevented. Unfortunately, it is occurring in the legal arena where costs are exorbitant. You can help prevent this with your immediate tax deductible financial support. Please help C.U.B.S. to defend the authenticity of the Revelation, and the spiritual and legal rights of believers now and in the future to freely identify with the name of the Revelation, The Urantia Book.