First Independent Church of Scientology

Discussion in 'Independent Scientology' started by CommunicatorIC, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. DeathHamster Member

    FICoS is finally showing as charity, deductible.
  2. First Independent Church of Scientology requests a copyright and trademark license from the Church of Scientology (more precisely, RTC and CST), and has an alternative plan if rejected.

    Religious Liberty League: A Path To Victory

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *


    FICofS Request For License To Use Scientology Materials

    The plan we developed involves a two-step process.

    Courts have upheld copyrights and trademarks of religious materials and marks against use by independent factions. A constitutional issue is created, however, when the copyright and trademark laws cause a substantial burden in the exercise of religion. This entails proving that (1) use of the questioned materials are essential to the practice of the religion and (2) a reasonable effort has been made to obtain permission to use the materials.

    Proof 1 can be established: FICofS is a nonprofit religious corporation with tax-exempt status.

    Proof 2 was just set in motion. Lawyers on behalf of FICofS requested a license from the church to use all copyrighted materials and incidental trademarks needed to practice the religion of Scientology in letters sent to the respective corporate owners, Religious Technology Center (RTC, owner of trademarks) and Church of Spiritual Technology (CST, copyrights).

    To view the letters, click here: Letter to RTCLetter to CST

    We are not dependent upon the church granting the license. If it ignores the request or tells us to pound sand, we have our proof that a reasonable effort was made to obtain licenses. If it accedes to the request but makes an unreasonable demand for an exchange, we also have our proof.

    Of course, in the off chance that it grants a license for agreeable terms, we will have achieved our aims.

    The bottom line is that Religious Liberty League can create a safe space for the free practice of Scientology outside the church.

    False Data Correction

    Some false data exist in the independent field that should be addressed.

    Copyrights In The Public Domain

    One is the idea that the church lost its copyrights. Perhaps it lost some to the public domain, certainly not all of them.

    Copyright laws have changed over the years. Those created before 1978 were covered by the 1909 Act which required a registration that could be renewed for two consecutive 28-year terms. In 1992, Congress made renewal automatic for works published between 1964 and 1978. The 1978 Act also extended the period to 75 years, and it was later extended an additional 20 years.

    Some materials not covered by federal law are covered by state law, such as California’s Civil Code Section 980, which, for example, extends common law copyright law to audio recordings. (The 1909 federal law did not cover lectures.)

    The point being, LRH materials must be examined individually to determine whether they have copyright protection. Pre-1964 works may be in the public domain either because a copyright was not registered or, if it was registered, was not timely renewed. Works between 1964 and 1978 are also questionable, and materials after 1978 are very likely copyrighted.

    Lack of Church Enforcement

    Another significant false datum in the field is the idea that LRH materials are now part of the public domain because it has all been published on the Internet and/or has been used by persons in the field who were not sued for copyright infringement.

    The church, as with any other copyright holder, may engage in selective enforcement. The fact that it has not sued someone or has not been able to shut down every unauthorized use on the Internet does not prevent it from bringing an infringement lawsuit against anyone who delivers Scientology services in the field. If it hasn’t gone after field practices it is probably because they are small fries and not a threat in the larger scheme.

    The music industry has the same problem. It cannot go after every Tom, Dick and Harry who shares music files on the Internet, and failure to do so has not resulted in loss of copyrights. Notice that the industry sure went after Napster (a music sharing web site) with a vengeance.

    A similar false datum is that persons who are currently practicing in the field for longer than three years are safe from legal actions by the church. A similar response applies. If independent Scientologists are practicing Scientology in the field the chances are great that they are exposed to legal liability and are simply regarded as too small or ineffective to deal with.

    FICofS is set up to become a central organization, to expand and last beyond the lifetimes of those persons trained inside the church, and to train a new generation of Scientologists in the correct application of the technology as developed by L. Ron Hubbard.


    The First Independent Church of Scientology belongs to those who take responsibility for it and make it happen. Our work is voluntary. No one has been compensated out of funds donated to either Religious Liberty League or to before it.


    100% of all donations have been used solely to defer expenses.

    We have paved the way. We will continue our efforts as long as there remains support for it. Much more in the way of donations will be required to make FICofS a reality.

    The plan is to not open the doors until we have:

    * The technology in place, which means having a grade chart, courses and check sheets approved by the Technical Standards Committee (TSC). This is well in progress. The TSC is in the final stages of approving a grade chart which will then be published for feedback and comments.

    * The management style and policies in place. We plan to create a committee of highly trained and experienced persons in both Scientology administration and non-Scientology enterprises to help on this.

    Note: We will write an article or series of articles debunking the false notion that Green-on-White policy for the management of Scientology organizations is set in stone and subject to Keeping Scientology Working (KSW).

    * Key personnel recruited.

    * A war chest sufficient to defend anticipated legal attacks from the church.

    * At least six-months’ operating expenses, including staff pay, until the organization is viable.

    So please contribute as much as you can, in any way you can.

    Two Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Whose church is this? Answer: no one’s, it belongs to those who step up and take responsibility for it. Who owns it? No one. It is a non-profit religious corporation.

    Jim Fonda and I (the proprietor of Religious Liberty League) established it. I agreed to be a trustee along with him. We are acting also as a board of directors but we intend to appoint others. We are filling corporate officer positions temporarily until the board of directors appoints officers. The board will select an Executive Director at some point.

    2. Are there plans to police the field? No. As long as Jim Fonda and I are trustees you can be assured that FICofS will strictly adhere to LRH’s admonition: “A militant org attitude to keep the field straight is silly.”[1]

    No doubt other FAQs exist. We will either address them in the Comments section below or update this article.
    [1] HCO PL 29 April 1965, Issue III, Ethics Review

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *

    License request letters to CST and RTC.

    NOTE: The PDF versions linked above and immediately below are much more legible than the PNG conversions embedded below.


    • Like Like x 1
  3. A jpg is fine, too?


  4. Question posted on Religious Liberty League article, moderated, approved and answered:

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    In each license request letter the First Independent Church of Scientology (FICS) states it "is willing and able to... be subjected to any reasonable restrictions that the licensor may impose on the license."

    What restrictions would FICS find reasonable? What restrictions would FICS find unreasonably and presumably unacceptable?

    Does FICS have any concern that it will wind up being a Church of Scientology Mission, or otherwise under the full supervision and control of CST, RTC, CSI or the corporate Church of Scientology generally, through IHelp or otherwise?


    Merrell Vannier January 17, 2017 at 4:17 pm Reply

    Reasonable versus Unreasonable. We can’t define it, but will know it when we see it.

    Zero concern that FICofS will wind up being under the full supervision and control of CofS. Won’t happen.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
  5. Another question posted on the Religious Liberty League article awaiting moderation.

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    Thank you very much for replying. Another question, if I may. Will the license agreement(s) and any "reasonable restrictions" be made available to: (a) the public generally; (b) prospective parishioners of FICS; or (c) actual parishioners of FICS?

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
  6. DeathHamster Member

    I hope asking CoS for a license is just a checkbox on some legal strategy rather than a serious request.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. thesneakster Member

    Well, FICoS has to show they tried to cooperate with the official copyright/trademark licensor and were denied before they would have any sort of case that the 1st Amendment Establishment clause should be used to invalidate them, I reckon.

    Michael A. Hobson
    Independent Scientologist
    Caveat: I am *not* a lawyer.
  8. RightOn Member

    If this is in the wrong thread, mods feel free to move it

    The Indie 500 List never reached 500. :rolleyes:
    Furthermore, there are people on that list that NEED TO BE REMOVED.
    Just off the top?
    Mike Rinder and his wife, Tizziano Lugli and his wife and Marty Rathbun just to name a few.
    These people are NOT independent scientologists.
    And Monique Rathbun is on that last even though she was never in the freakin' COS
    I wonder just how many names can be removed and what the actual number really is.
    I don't have time, but if anyone wants a whack at it for shits and giggles, it would be entertaining to know the actual number.
  9. Re:Monique

    If she uses any piece of the tech, she's A-OK. I can think of a tiny handful of other non-exes in the same boat, but I believe they're all married to still-practicing exes.

    It's worth remembering that the "Big List" is a wiki anyone can edit. Its rules and policies are made/enforced through consensus, maintained through common effort. The "Indy 500" is a blog run by one LRH fan, and governed by LRH Technology.

    btw, when did Marty stop being an Independent Scientologist?
  10. RightOn Member

    none of those people I named are Indies any more or using the tech
    Paul Haggis too. Trust me he isn't using any part of the tech
    I know what the fucking difference is between the two lists.
    Hall stole the idea from ME.
    Sorry, but I find you kinda of unpleasant at times and seem to talk down to people like they are dumb asses
    • Like Like x 1
  11. thesneakster Member

    I could say the same about you, I think.

    Steve Hall doesn't seem to be maintaining that "Indie 500" page and he managed to piss off enough people with his early rants that I'm sure more than a few wanted nothing to do with it.

    Michael A. Hobson
    Independent Scientologist
  12. RightOn Member

    oh I am so insulted Sneaks. :rolleyes:
    I know he sn't maintaining the list. Duh
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Trust me, I am even sorrier. :(
    I am kinda unpleasant at all times, and always a self-important jerk. Thank you for reminding me I need to work on that.

    I agree that Paul Haggis, Mike Rinder and others have long since woken up and abandoned even the pretense of Scientology. I didn't know that Marty had too. Maybe I need to get out more.

    (sorry for being a nuisance)
    • Like Like x 1
  14. First Independent Church of Scientology Grade Chart and more.

    Religious Liberty League: FICofS Grade Chart & Etc.

    PDF for better resolution:

    PDF also attached below.

    Excerpt of Religious Liberty League post below the chart.


    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    At long last, the Classification & Gradation Chart has been approved by the Technical Standards Committee (TSC) for the First Independent Church of Scientology (FICofS).

    To see the full sized pdf, Click here.

    Feel free to give your thoughts, criticism and praise in the comments below.

    And now to catch up.

    Breaking the Church Monopoly

    The church did not respond to the FICofS request for a license to use Scientology copyrights and incidental trademarks. This means that FICofS has perfected its legal rights to use LRH materials and incidental trademarks and its defenses against a potential infringement lawsuit brought by the church after FICofS openly uses and practices the religion of Scientology.

    Simply stated, FICofS, and any of its missions, churches or affiliated practitioners can safely exercise their First Amendment right to practice the religion. This does not mean that the church will not sue, but FICofS is locked and loaded, and fully prepared to defend and counter any such action.

    FICofS – RLL Distinction

    Religious Liberty League (RLL) is apart and separate from FICofS, and always has been. The line between the two was blurred when RLL assisted in the establishment of FICofS as part of RLL’s project to break the church’s monopoly over the copyrights and trademarks of Scientology. And more so when RLL’s proprietor became a trustee and officer of FICofS.

    Those positions were taken on by request and out of necessity since a legal entity had to be formed and legally constituted in order to retain the law firms and request a license to use Scientology materials. Having satisfied that need, and accomplished that stop-gap purpose those positions have been relinquished, giving a clear break between these two organizations.

    FICofS Website

    FICofS is in the process of building its own website. It owns two domains, one with the name spelled out and the other abbreviated. .org and .com for both.

    For future news about FICofS please visit those web sites.

    CNN Series Believer Scientology Episode


    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *

    Attached Files:

  15. Notice Original OT VII is near the top. Jonathan Burke of the Advanced Organization of the Great Plains has a technical observation.

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    Jonathan burke April 16, 2017 at 7:31 pm Reply

    Nice work!

    If one is going to add the original OT VII at the top, the earlier original OT IV, V, and VI were meant to come prior to that level, as one builds upon another gradiently. The original OT VII perfects a beings intention and was originally used (per reports) to be done prior to NOTS for those who were having trouble doing NOTS in it’s earlier form as a corrective rundown, prior to it’s inception as an actual OT level later to replace the original OT VII. With that in mind, it would make more sense to have this done as an audited action prior to doing the NOTS OT VII level and not after, along with the original OT levels of IV-VI, which are quite literally the only positive gain levels in the OT band created by LRH. The wins are phenomenal and in my opinion would be a glaring omission to the public at large. If they haven’t been done by all, they are truly missing out, IMHO.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
  16. Important clarification about the new First Independent Church of Scientology Grade Chart.

    From Chris Black on the RLL website:

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    Chris Black April 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm Reply

    Jonathan (and any others reading this), the FICofS Grade Chart does include the earlier original OT IV, V, and VI levels on the Grade Chart. The levels on this Grade Chart are NOT the “New OT Levels” of the CoS, but the original LRH OT Levels. Possibly you’ve mis-read it. As to the the progression of OT Levels, they follow LRH’s intention as outlined in LRH 301 Int, 17 December 1978, and the 1974, 1978 & 1983 grade charts, as indicated at the bottom of the FICoS Grade Chart. One can read those issues for further reference and understanding.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
  17. Technical Update: The First Independent Church of Scientology Grade Chart deliberately omits the Scientology Drug Rundown.

    TSC = Technical Standards Committee

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    because April 19, 2017 at 2:53 am Reply
    I appreciate and admire the work you are doing.

    Please disregard if this has already been addressed I didn’t see the Scn. Drug RD listed under Processing and in the Awareness Characteristics column there is a typo just above #21. “Power on All & Dynamics” should be “Power on All Dynamics” .

    Thanks you

    Merrell Vannier April 19, 2017 at 3:39 am Reply
    Thanks for pointing out the typo. On Scn Drug RD, I don’t recall the TSC deliberations on this except generally that the issue was addressed.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
  18. "RemoteViewed" at My Scientology Blog has responded to the release of the First Independent Church of Scientology Grade Chart.

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    You can read about it here folks!

    So far it seems the move to form an Independent Church of Scientology is moving along with the release of their Bridge to Total Freedom AKA the Scientology Grade Chart.

    The Chart actually corrects the technical degrade instigated or more accurately perpetrated in the early eighties by the former Senior Case Supervisor International, Scientology’s Technical Tzar at the time, David Mayo.

    Anyone who wonders why OTs like the ones that dazzled the Intelligence Community back in the early seventies were no longer being made can thank David Mayo.

    I can understand why Ron may have overlooked this. First he was somewhat distracted at the time by efforts of our Government to indict as a coconspirator in the so called “Conspiracy” carried out by the Guardian’s office. Not only that there were a number of civil suits directed him by a shyster named Flynn and the pit of snakes he called his “associates” naming MkUltra poster child Ron DeWolf FKA L Ron Hubbard jr AKA Nibs as plaintiff.

    Little Ron as I call him would pop up like a evil little Jack in the Box through out the sixties and the early seventies presenting his case against the Old Man in reputable journals like Penthouse and Hustler then when confronted by dad’s counsel would retract what he said which makes for fun reading in Big Ron’s since released FBI files.

    But I digress.

    The man who was assigned to take over for Dave who was personally “shot from guns” by the Old Man himself when he found out that he was messing around with the tech was Ray Mithoff who seems to have fallen down some memory hole or is in the “hole” according to rumors but who did absolutely nothing about the blatant technical degrade noted earlier.

    In fact he would later conspire with David Miscavige nominal “Chairman of the Board RTC” AKA COB as in corn cob in the late nineties and “developed” using their own words a squirrel “technology” known as the “Golden Age of Tech” which would have made David Mayo squirrel extraordinare up until then green with envy.

    Mayo would merely slip his “new tech” in covertly while RTC would ram it down everybody’s throats using ethics to drive the tech out instead of in.

    I mean with all these alterations being generated by his rodent team members in RTRC under the guise of “assisting” Ron long after he had gone to some other planet in some far off galaxy or moved on to target two or had dropped the body or to put it bluntly deceased.
    I’m sure poor little Ray didn’t have the time required to pull the original OT Levels out of mothballs somewhere and put them back on the Grade Chart where they belonged.

    Or it could have been that he have suffered from flash backs caused by all the Acid he dropped when he was a freshman at Berserkly.


    So here we are over thirty years later with the original technology to make real operating thetans and it’s a good thing.

    To Merrel and everybody else at the First Independent Church of Scientology. I wish you all the best.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * *
  19. The Internet Member

    Does this mean these indies can skip the liver damaging purif?
  20. No, the Purification Rundown is second from the bottom on the right, Processing, side of the First Independent Church of Scientology Grade Chart. The Scientology Drug Rundown is something different.
  21. It's funny how the current crop of indies seem to hate David Mayo. With Marty it seemed like it was because he left when Hubbard was still in charge and therefore was bad. Is that the case for the rest of them?
  22. thesneakster Member

    That's an interesting assertion. What do you base that on, please ?

    [edit added]
    RemoteViewed is just one person whom has not been appointed any sort of official spokeperson for Indie Scientologists or any subset of Indie Scientologists. Furthermore, he has been auditing in the Independent Field since maybe 2008, so he certainly is not associated with any "current crop".

    Bear in mind that the "indies" are about as inhomogenous as Anonymous. I don't doubt that there is some "indies" who are anti-Dave Mayo, of course.

    Michael A. Hobson
    Independent Scientologist

  23. DeathHamster Member

    Marty seemed to be frozen on the state of things when he left. Anyone who left before he did was still an enemy. Anyone who left after he did was only confirming that Marty was right. (There may be exceptions to that.)

    Deconstructing the Mayo Myth April 12, 2011, Marty Rathbun, Moving On Up a Little Higher
  24. Marty's views on David Mayo are well established. Moreover, at the point he was talking about Mayo on his blog his commenters seemed to be largely in agreement with his viewpoint. Clearly Marty is no longer a "thought leader" in this area but at the time I'd say he was broadly reflective of the views of a large number of independent Scientologists on the whole.

    The only other time I have seen any discussion on Mayo is the above blog post which continues in the same vein as Marty did.

    If you have more data points I would happily consider them.

    What are your views on David Mayo?
  25. The website of the First Independent Church of Scientology is live.

    I recently created a thread for the entirely separate organization known as the Independent Reformed Church of Scientology. That caused me to check on the status of the First Independent Church of Scientology.

    To my surprise, I found the website of the First Independent Church of Scientology is live. It does not appear they are providing services yet.

    First Independent Church of Scientology.



    As discussed at length in previous posts and only excerpted below, it appear the First Independent Church of Scientology has until January 23, 2019 to respond to the proposed denial of their trademark application.

  26. DeathHamster Member

    Previously they were using which now redirects to the new domain.
  27. The First Independent Church of Scientology (FICS) is continuing to litigate it's trademark application. The FICS has filed a response to the proposed USPTO decision to deny it's application for a trademark.

    The case was greatly delayed because the USPTO insisted on first processing (and eventually granted) Scientology trademark applications for Scientology Media Productions, not that they added anything new to the discussion.



    NOTE: The FICS is not to be confused with the recently incorporated Independent Reformed Church of Scientology (IRCS).
  28. First Independent Church of Scientology (FICS) Grade Chart: "Date Released 8 February 2019."

    In addition to having the file name GradeChart7Feb2019R.pdf and the "R" designation, the Grade Chart on the FICS website states in lower left-hand corner: "Date Released 8 February 2019."

    FICS Grade Chart 7 Feb 2019R '



    The FICS explains:

    * * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    The Grade Chart and Standard Technology

    A visitor to our church asked the following:

    What’s with the squirrel grade chart?

    I saw LRH’s written instructions to REMOVE original OT IV-VII from the Grade chart and to remove them from PC programming.

    Why squirrel his instruction?

    The answer is that L Ron Hubbard did not write instructions to remove these levels.

    The change to remove original OT IV-VII was made by HCOB 19 Jan 1982 “NEW – STREAMLINED CLASSIFICATION AND GRADATION CHART.”

    That HCOB was not written by LRH, and was later cancelled.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *

    Attached Files:

  29. The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has again refused the trademark application by the First Independent Church of Scientology (FICS).

    As indicated in the decision quoted below, this "Final Office Action" is not really final. In response, the FICS can provide:

    (1) a response filed using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) that fully satisfies all outstanding requirements and/or resolves all outstanding refusals; and/or

    (2) an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board filed using the Electronic System for Trademark Trials and Appeals (ESTTA) with the required filing fee of $200 per class.

    The question is, will it?


    Decision at:


    * * * * * BEGIN QUOTATION * * * * *


    Raymond R. Tabandeh
    Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
    P.O. BOX 29001
    GLENDALE CA 91209-9001






    ISSUE/MAILING DATE: 2/28/2019



    This Office action is in response to applicant’s communication filed on January 17, 2019.

    In a previous Office action(s) dated March 18, 2016 and July 23, 2018, the trademark examining attorney refused registration of the applied-for mark based on the following: specify e.g., Trademark Act Section 2(d) for a likelihood of confusion with several registered marks, and Trademark Section 2(a) for a mark that includes matter which may falsely suggest a connection with the Church of Scientology. In addition, applicant was required to satisfy the following requirement: disclaim descriptive wording in the mark.

    The applicant’s responses have been considered and are not persuasive. The applicant did not enter the required disclaimer.
    The trademark examining attorney maintains and now makes FINAL the refusal(s) and/or requirement(s) in the summary of issues below. See 37 C.F.R. §2.63(b); TMEP §714.04.

    SUMMARY OF ISSUES MADE FINAL that applicant must address:

    Section 2(d) refusal –Likelihood of confusion
    Section 2(a) refusal – False Association


    Registration of the applied-for mark is refused because of a likelihood of confusion with the marks in:

    U.S. Registration No. 0898018 for SCIENTOLOGY
    U.S. Registration No. 1318717 for SCIENTOLOGY
    U.S. Registration No. 1306997 for SCIENTOLOGY
    U.S. Registration No. 1329474 for SCIENTOLOGY
    U.S. Registration No. 1342353 for SCIENTOLOGY
    U.S. Registration No. 4533003 for SCIENTOLOGY
    U.S. Registration No. 2678135 for SCIENTOLOGY VOLUNTEER MINISTER
    U.S. Registration No. 2717563 for SCIENTOLOGY VOLUNTEER MINISTER
    U.S. Registration No. 4674470 for INTERNATIONAL SCIENTOLOGY NEWS
    U.S. Registration No. 5241821 for SCIENTOLOGY MEDIA PRODUCTIONS
    U.S. Registration No. 5241823 for SCIENTOLOGY MEDIA PRODUCTIONS
    U.S. Registration No. 5223542 for SCIENTOLOGY MEDIA PRODUCTIONS
    U.S. Registration No. 5156526 for SCIENTOLOGY MEDIA PRODUCTIONS
    U.S. Registration No. 5134065 for SCIENTOLOGY MEDIA PRODUCTIONS

    Trademark Act Section 2(d), 15 U.S.C. §1052(d); see TMEP §§1207.01 et seq. See the attached registrations.

    Trademark Act Section 2(d) bars registration of an applied-for mark that is so similar to a registered mark that it is likely consumers would be confused, mistaken, or deceived as to the commercial source of the goods and/or services of the parties. See 15 U.S.C. §1052(d). Likelihood of confusion is determined on a case-by-case basis by applying the factors set forth in In re E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 476 F.2d 1357, 1361, 177 USPQ 563, 567 (C.C.P.A. 1973) (called the “du Pont factors”). In re, llc, 866 F.3d 1315, 1322, 123 USPQ2d 1744, 1747 (Fed. Cir. 2017). Only those factors that are “relevant and of record” need be considered. M2 Software, Inc. v. M2 Commc’ns, Inc., 450 F.3d 1378, 1382, 78 USPQ2d 1944, 1947 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (citing Shen Mfg. Co. v. Ritz Hotel Ltd., 393 F.3d 1238, 1241, 73 USPQ2d 1350, 1353 (Fed. Cir. 2004)); see In re Inn at St. John’s, LLC, 126 USPQ2d 1742, 1744 (TTAB 2018).

    Although not all du Pont factors may be relevant, there are generally two key considerations in any likelihood of confusion analysis: (1) the similarities between the compared marks and (2) the relatedness of the compared goods and/or services. See In re, llc, 866 F.3d at 1322, 123 USPQ2d at 1747 (quoting Herbko Int’l, Inc. v. Kappa Books, Inc., 308 F.3d 1156, 1164-65, 64 USPQ2d 1375, 1380 (Fed. Cir. 2002)); Federated Foods, Inc. v. Fort Howard Paper Co., 544 F.2d 1098, 1103, 192 USPQ 24, 29 (C.C.P.A. 1976) (“The fundamental inquiry mandated by [Section] 2(d) goes to the cumulative effect of differences in the essential characteristics of the goods [or services] and differences in the marks.”); TMEP §1207.01.

    Comparison of the Marks


    The registrant’s marks, listed above, include the typed drawing, SCIENTOLOGY, and an entire family of twenty distinctive marks prominently including the well-recognized wording, SCIENTOLOGY and designs.

    Marks are compared in their entireties for similarities in appearance, sound, connotation, and commercial impression. Stone Lion Capital Partners, LP v. Lion Capital LLP, 746 F.3d 1317, 1321, 110 USPQ2d 1157, 1160 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (quoting Palm Bay Imps., Inc. v. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Maison Fondee En 1772, 396 F.3d 1369, 1371, 73 USPQ2d 1689, 1691 (Fed. Cir. 2005)); TMEP §1207.01(b)-(b)(v). “Similarity in any one of these elements may be sufficient to find the marks confusingly similar.” In re Inn at St. John’s, LLC, 126 USPQ2d 1742, 1746 (TTAB 2018) (citing In re Davia, 110 USPQ2d 1810, 1812 (TTAB 2014)); TMEP §1207.01(b).

    When comparing marks, “[t]he proper test is not a side-by-side comparison of the marks, but instead whether the marks are sufficiently similar in terms of their commercial impression such that [consumers] who encounter the marks would be likely to assume a connection between the parties.” Cai v. Diamond Hong, Inc., __ F.3d __, 127 USPQ2d 1797, 1801 (Fed. Cir. 2018) (quoting Coach Servs., Inc. v. Triumph Learning LLC, 668 F.3d 1356, 1368, 101 USPQ2d 1713, 1721 (Fed. Cir. 2012)); TMEP §1207.01(b). The proper focus is on the recollection of the average purchaser, who retains a general rather than specific impression of trademarks. In re Inn at St. John’s, LLC, 126 USPQ2d 1742, 1746 (TTAB 2018) (citing In re St. Helena Hosp., 774 F.3d 747, 750-51, 113 USPQ2d 1082, 1085 (Fed. Cir. 2014); Geigy Chem. Corp. v. Atlas Chem. Indus., Inc., 438 F.2d 1005, 1007, 169 USPQ 39, 40 (CCPA 1971)); TMEP §1207.01(b).

    Adding a term to a registered mark generally does not obviate the similarity between the compared marks, as in the present case, nor does it overcome a likelihood of confusion under Section 2(d). See Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Jos. E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., 526 F.2d 556, 557, 188 USPQ 105, 106 (C.C.P.A. 1975) (finding BENGAL and BENGAL LANCER and design confusingly similar); In re Toshiba Med. Sys. Corp., 91 USPQ2d 1266, 1269 (TTAB 2009) (finding TITAN and VANTAGE TITAN confusingly similar); In re El Torito Rests., Inc., 9 USPQ2d 2002, 2004 (TTAB 1988) (finding MACHO and MACHO COMBOS confusingly similar); TMEP §1207.01(b)(iii). In this case the added, merely descriptive wording, “first independent church,” does not obviate the similarity between the marks. In the present case, the marks are identical in part.

    Applicant argued that the marks are not the same. The applicant has argued that some of the registered marks include extensive graphics or logos that include the Scientology wording only in the margins, whereas the applicant’s mark is the five different words, “First,” “Independent,” “Church,” “of,” and “Scientology.” Therefore, according to the applicant, the marks create different commercial impressions. The applicant also argued that the consumers of the applicant’s and the registrant’s services are sophisticated and would not be confused in to thinking that the source of goods and services is the same. Finally, the applicant argued that the term, “Scientology,” is descriptive, if not generic, thereby it has no source indicating significance.

    As indicated above, the addition of “first independent church” to the distinctive wording, “Scientology,” does not obviate the similarity between the marks. Moreover, the fact that purchasers are sophisticated or knowledgeable in a particular field does not necessarily mean that they are sophisticated or knowledgeable in the field of trademarks or immune from source confusion. TMEP §1207.01(d)(vii); see, e.g., Stone Lion Capital Partners, LP v. Lion Capital LLP, 746 F.3d. 1317, 1325, 110 USPQ2d 1157, 1163-64 (Fed. Cir. 2014); Top Tobacco LP v. N. Atl. Operating Co., 101 USPQ2d 1163, 1170 (TTAB 2011). Further, where the purchasers consist of both professionals and the public, the standard of care for purchasing the goods is that of the least sophisticated potential purchaser. In re FCA US LLC, 126 USPQ2d 1214, 1222 (TTAB 2018) (citing Stone Lion Capital Partners, LP v. Lion Capital LLP, 746 F.3d. at 1325, 110 USPQ2d at 1163).

    Finally, applicant argues that the wording in the registered mark, “SCIENTOLOGY,” has little or no source-identifying significance because it is, according to the applicant, descriptive or generic in relation to registrant’s goods and/or services. Trademark Act Section 7(b), however, provides that a certificate of registration on the Principal Register is prima facie evidence of the validity of a registered mark. 15 U.S.C. §1057(b). The validity of a cited registration “cannot be challenged in an ex parte proceeding.” In re Fat Boys Water Sports LLC, 118 USPQ2d 1511, 1517 (TTAB 2016). Thus, applicant’s argument is not being considered because to do so would fail to give the cited registered mark the validity to which it is entitled. In re Fat Boys Water Sports LLC, 118 USPQ2d at 1517 (citing In re Fiesta Palms LLC, 85 USPQ2d 1360, 1363 (TTAB 2007)).

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board have recognized that marks deemed “weak” or merely descriptive are still entitled to protection under Section 2(d) against the registration by a subsequent user of a similar mark for closely related goods and/or services. TMEP §1207.01(b)(ix); see King Candy Co. v. Eunice King’s Kitchen, Inc., 496 F.2d 1400, 1401, 182 USPQ 108, 109 (C.C.P.A. 1974); In re Max Capital Grp. Ltd., 93 USPQ2d 1243, 1246 (TTAB 2010). Thus, this protection under Section 2(d) extends to marks registered on the Supplemental Register. TMEP §1207.01(b)(ix); see, e.g., In re Morinaga Nyugyo Kabushiki Kaisha, 120 USPQ2d 1738, 1743 (TTAB 2016) (citing Towers v. Advent Software, Inc., 913 F.2d 942, 946, 16 USPQ2d 1039, 1042 (Fed. Cir. 1990); In re Research & Trademark Corp., 793 F.2d 1276, 1278, 230 USPQ 49, 49 (Fed. Cir. 1986); In re Clorox Co., 578 F.2d 305, 307-08, 198 USPQ 337, 340 (C.C.P.A. 1978)).

    Comparison of the Goods and Services

    The applicant’s services are “spiritual ministry services.”

    The registrant’s goods and services include religious and ministerial services, educational services in the field of philosophy and religion, digital media pertaining to religion and philosophy, books, booklets, newsletters and bulletins.

    The compared goods and/or services need not be identical or even competitive to find a likelihood of confusion. See On-line Careline Inc. v. Am. Online Inc., 229 F.3d 1080, 1086, 56 USPQ2d 1471, 1475 (Fed. Cir. 2000); Recot, Inc. v. Becton, 214 F.3d 1322, 1329, 54 USPQ2d 1894, 1898 (Fed. Cir. 2000); TMEP §1207.01(a)(i). They need only be “related in some manner and/or if the circumstances surrounding their marketing are such that they could give rise to the mistaken belief that [the goods and/or services] emanate from the same source.” Coach Servs., Inc. v. Triumph Learning LLC, 668 F.3d 1356, 1369, 101 USPQ2d 1713, 1722 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (quoting 7-Eleven Inc. v. Wechsler, 83 USPQ2d 1715, 1724 (TTAB 2007)); TMEP §1207.01(a)(i).
    In this case, the goods and services are related religious and ministry goods and services. The applicant did not provide any arguments relating to the goods and services. The marks create the impression that the goods and services emanate from a common source. Consumers are likely to be confused into thinking that the applicant’s and registrant’s services emanate from the same source.

    Therefore, registration is denied because there is a likelihood of confusion.

    Applicant should note the following additional ground for refusal


    Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or includes matter which may falsely suggest a connection with the Scientology religion or Church of Scientology. Trademark Act Section 2(a), 15 U.S.C. §1052(a). Although Scientology or the Church of Scientology is not connected with the goods and/or services provided by applicant under the applied-for mark, Scientology is so well-known that consumers would presume a connection. See id.

    Under Trademark Act Section 2(a), the registration of a mark that “consists of or comprises matter that may falsely suggest a connection with persons, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols” is prohibited. In re Pedersen, 109 USPQ2d 1185, 1188 (TTAB 2013). To establish that an applied-for mark falsely suggests a connection with a person or an institution, the following is required:

    (1) The mark sought to be registered is the same as, or a close approximation of, the name or identity previously used by another person or institution.
    (2) The mark would be recognized as such, in that it points uniquely and unmistakably to that person or institution.
    (3) The person or institution identified in the mark is not connected with the goods sold or services performed by applicant under the mark.
    (4) The fame or reputation of the named person or institution is of such a nature that a connection with such person or institution would be presumed when applicant’s mark is used on its goods and/or services.

    In re Pedersen, 109 USPQ2d at 1188-89; In re Jackson Int’l Trading Co., 103 USPQ2d 1417, 1419 (TTAB 2012); TMEP §1203.03(c)(i); see also Univ. of Notre Dame du Lac v. J.C. Gourmet Food Imps. Co., 703 F.2d 1372, 1375-77, 217 USPQ 505, 508-10 (Fed. Cir. 1983) (providing foundational principles for the current four-part test used to determine the existence of a false connection).

    If applicant’s goods and/or services are of a type that the named person or institution sells or uses, and the named party is sufficiently famous, then it may be inferred that purchasers of the goods and/or services would be misled into making a false connection of sponsorship, approval, support or the like with the named party. See, e.g., In re Nieves & Nieves LLC, 113 USPQ2d 1639, 1647-48 (TTAB 2015) (holding ROYAL KATE used with applicant’s consumer products, including fashion products, suggested a connection with Kate Middleton would be inferred because evidence showed that Kate Middleton, by virtue of being the wife of Prince William of the British Royal family, has become a celebrity and fashion trend-setter the media reports on, including the clothes she wears, what she does, and what she buys); In re Cotter & Co., 228 USPQ 202, 204-05 (TTAB 1985) (holding WESTPOINT used with applicant’s firearms suggested sponsorship, approval, support or the like from West Point because evidence showed that West Point is a well-known U.S. Military Academy).

    The fact that purchasers would realize, at some point after purchase, that no connection exists between the listed goods and/or services and the person or institution falsely connected, is not relevant. The focus is on “the initial reaction or impact of the mark when viewed in conjunction with the applicable goods or services.” In re U.S. Bicentennial Soc’y, 197 USPQ 905, 906 (TTAB 1978) (internal punctuation omitted) (quoting In re Nat’l Intelligence Acad., 190 USPQ 570, 572 (TTAB 1976)).

    Scientology is of such a nature that a connection with such person or institution would be presumed when applicant's mark is used on its goods and/or services. Scientology was coined and was established as a religion by founder L. Ron Hubbard over fifty years ago. The famous author of the New York Times best seller, Dianetics, "found himself studying the human spirit to answer the question of who or what was operating the mind. With this basic and elementary discovery of the human spirit, a new subject was founded: Scientology." See the information from, attached to the first office action. According to the Scientology website, it has grown to over 11,000 churches, missions and affiliated groups across the United States and 167 countries. See information from the registrant’s website, attached to the first office action. See also, BusinessInsider article attached to the first office action, documenting the celebrities who are members of the institution who also help to make it a famous institution. Finally, see articles attached to the first office action that were downloaded from various new outlets discussing Scientology. A connection with the Church of Scientology would be presumed because the applicant’s ministry is in the field of Scientology.

    In this case, the dominant portion of the applicant’s mark is “Scientology,” the same as the renowned Church of Scientology. The mark would be immediately associated with Scientology such that it would point uniquely and unmistakably to the institution of Scientology. The Church of Scientology is not connected with the applicant. See blog article downloaded from the Religious Liberty League’s website, attached to the first office action.
    In conclusion, the evidence demonstrates that (a) the Church of Scientology is a well-known and recognized particular institution, (b) that the use of the “Scientology” wording in the applicant’s mark unmistakably points to that institution, (c) that the institution identified in the mark is not connected with the services performed by applicant under the mark, and (d) that the Church of Scientology is so famous that a connection with such institution would be presumed when applicant's mark is used on its services.

    The applicant argued that the definition of "independent" means "not being subject to control of others," which indicates that the services provided under the applicant's mark are not related or affiliated with those provided under the registrant's mark. Accordingly, the applicant argued, the applied-for mark does not falsely suggest a connection with the Church of Scientology, or the registrant, Religious Technology Center Corporation.
    However, although the applicant claimed to be independent, it may be inferred that purchasers of the applicant’s services could be misled into making a false connection of sponsorship, approval, support or the like with Scientology as an institution. Scientology is not a generic term. As a religious ministry, Scientology immediately identifies the church established by L. Ron Hubbard and maintained by the Religious Technology Center.
    Registration is refused because the applied-for mark consists of or includes matter which may falsely suggest a connection with the religion or Church of Scientology


    Applicant must provide a disclaimer of the unregistrable part(s) of the applied-for mark even though the mark as a whole appears to be registrable. See 15 U.S.C. §1056(a); TMEP §§1213, 1213.03(a). A disclaimer of an unregistrable part of a mark will not affect the mark’s appearance. See Schwarzkopf v. John H. Breck, Inc., 340 F.2d 978, 979-80, 144 USPQ 433, 433 (C.C.P.A. 1965).

    In this case, applicant must disclaim the wording “First Independent Church” because it is not inherently distinctive. These unregistrable term(s) at best are merely descriptive of an ingredient, quality, characteristic, function, feature, purpose, or use of applicant’s goods and/or services. See 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(1); DuoProSS Meditech Corp. v. Inviro Med. Devices, Ltd., 695 F.3d 1247, 1251, 103 USPQ2d 1753, 1755 (Fed. Cir. 2012); TMEP §§1213, 1213.03(a).

    The wording, “first,” in the mark is akin to “original.” “Marks that are merely laudatory and descriptive of the alleged merit of a product [or service] are . . . regarded as being descriptive” because “elf-laudatory or puffing marks are regarded as a condensed form of describing the character or quality of the goods [or services].” DuoProSS Meditech Corp. v. Inviro Med. Devices, Ltd., 695 F.3d 1247, 1256, 103 USPQ2d 1753, 1759 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (quoting In re The Boston Beer Co., 198 F.3d 1370, 1373, 53 USPQ2d 1056, 1058 (Fed. Cir. 1999)); TMEP §1209.03(k).

    The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has held that the word “original” used alone or paired with descriptive wording is merely laudatory and descriptive of goods or services being the first of their kind. See In re Ervin, 1 USPQ2d 1665, 1666 (TTAB 1986) (holding THE “ORIGINAL” merely laudatory and descriptive of applicant’s scorer for playing euchre as the first of its kind); Gen. Foods Corp. v. Ralston Purina Co., 220 USPQ 990, 994 (TTAB 1984) (holding ORIGINAL BLEND merely laudatory and descriptive of applicant’s cat food comprising a first-of-its-kind combination of ingredients).

    The wording, “independent church,” merely describes a self-governing religious institution. See dictionary definitions attached to the first office action. The combination of terms, “first independent church” is laudatory and merely descriptive of an original self-governing religious institution.
    An applicant may not claim exclusive rights to terms that others may need to use to describe their goods and/or services in the marketplace. See Dena Corp. v. Belvedere Int’l, Inc., 950 F.2d 1555, 1560, 21 USPQ2d 1047, 1051 (Fed. Cir. 1991); In re Aug. Storck KG, 218 USPQ 823, 825 (TTAB 1983). A disclaimer of unregistrable matter does not affect the appearance of the mark; that is, a disclaimer does not physically remove the disclaimed matter from the mark. See Schwarzkopf v. John H. Breck, Inc., 340 F.2d 978, 978, 144 USPQ 433, 433 (C.C.P.A. 1965); TMEP §1213. See attached examples of other uses of “first independent” in connection with churches, attached to the first office action.

    Applicant may respond to this issue by submitting a disclaimer in the following format:

    No claim is made to the exclusive right to use “FIRST INDEPENDENT CHURCH” apart from the mark as shown.

    For an overview of disclaimers and instructions on how to satisfy this issue using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), see the Disclaimer webpage.


    Applicant must respond within six months of the date of issuance of this final Office action or the application will be abandoned. 15 U.S.C. §1062(b); 37 C.F.R. §2.65(a). Applicant may respond by providing one or both of the following:

    (1) a response filed using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) that fully satisfies all outstanding requirements and/or resolves all outstanding refusals; and/or

    (2) an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board filed using the Electronic System for Trademark Trials and Appeals (ESTTA) with the required filing fee of $200 per class.

    37 C.F.R. §2.63(b)(1)-(2); TMEP §714.04; see 37 C.F.R. §2.6(a)(18); TBMP ch. 1200.

    In certain rare circumstances, an applicant may respond by filing a petition to the Director pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §2.63(b)(2) to review procedural issues. TMEP §714.04; see 37 C.F.R. §2.146(b); TBMP §1201.05; TMEP §1704 (explaining petitionable matters). There is a fee required for filing a petition. 37 C.F.R. §2.6(a)(15).

    TEAS PLUS OR TEAS REDUCED FEE (TEAS RF) APPLICANTS – TO MAINTAIN LOWER FEE, ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS MUST BE MET, INCLUDING SUBMITTING DOCUMENTS ONLINE: Applicants who filed their application online using the lower-fee TEAS Plus or TEAS RF application form must (1) file certain documents online using TEAS, including responses to Office actions (see TMEP §§819.02(b), 820.02(b) for a complete list of these documents); (2) maintain a valid e-mail correspondence address; and (3) agree to receive correspondence from the USPTO by e-mail throughout the prosecution of the application. See 37 C.F.R. §§2.22(b), 2.23(b); TMEP §§819, 820. TEAS Plus or TEAS RF applicants who do not meet these requirements must submit an additional processing fee of $125 per class of goods and/or services. 37 C.F.R. §§2.6(a)(1)(v), 2.22(c), 2.23(c); TMEP §§819.04, 820.04. However, in certain situations, TEAS Plus or TEAS RF applicants may respond to an Office action by authorizing an examiner’s amendment by telephone or e-mail without incurring this additional fee.

    Robin S. Chosid-Brown
    Trademark Examining Attorney
    Law Office 102

    * * * * * END QUOTATION * * * * *

    Attached Files:

  30. Applicant James R. Fonda has filed a Notice of Appeal with the Trademark Trial Appeal Board from the denial of the trademark application for the "First Independent Church of Scientology."

    Per the below, the opening brief is due 10/26/19.

    General link for the trademark application:

    Notice of Appeal:


    Acknowledgment of Notice of Appeal:

  31. The Examining Attorney has filed their Appeal Brief with the Trademark Trial Appeal Board in support of denial of the trademark application for the "First Independent Church of Scientology." This brief is in response to the opening brief filed by Applicant James R. Fonda noted above.

    The brief is 17 pages long and is available at the following link:

    The first two pages of the brief are set forth below.



    Attached Files:

  32. The 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status of the First Independent Church of Scientology has been revoked for not filing a Form 990-series return or notice for three consecutive years.


    In contrast and for comparison, the Independent Scientology Religious Liberty League had its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status revoked and reinstated on the same day, 5/15/19. Also, unlike the First Independent Church of Scientology, the Religious Liberty League has an entry indicting it is on the Publication 78 Data List of tax-exempt organizations with a destructibility code of PC (i.e.. public charity).

  33. conchosunwi Member

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