SDA Trademark Wars


The following letter is presented unedited, and represents a perspective several years old. Since the time of its writing, the Seventh-day Adventist Church's legal persecutions have continued unabated. The Creation 7th Day Adventist Church has most recently been persecuted, culminating in jail time for members. For the latest updates on the trademark litigations, please visit SDA Trademark Alert.

A Davidian Perspective by Don Adair
P. O. Box 450
Salem, S. Carolina 29676


The General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists, not the General ConferenceSeventh-day Adventist church, has trademarked their name "Seventh-day Adventist" (registeredNo. 1,177,185). This Corporation has non-religious holdings, such as hospitals, insurancebusinesses, book stores, schools, lumber mills, printing plants, etc. and also churches. They claimthat the purposes of their trademark is to protect their good name; but it includes more than this. That is why their Corporation has added these words to their registered trademark: "conductingreligious observances and missionary service (under) class 42 (U.S. cl. 100)." Thus, their realmotive is not to stop anyone from tarnishing their good name, but to stop anyone from using it,and from holding religious services on the Sabbath day! Those members who protest are told thatit is the Corporation, not the church, that is suing other Seventh-day Adventists. Their objective,therefore, is two-fold - an open objective and a hidden one.

That is, in pretended righteousness they say their open objective is to protect their good namefrom being used by SDA "offshoots" and Davidian "upshoots". But their hidden objective is toprotect their money-extortion program from being disrupted by the shaking. By their declarationof war against the SRod through the help of worldly lawyers to trademark their name, they hopethey can stop Davidians from saying that they are Seventh-day Adventists. But they are "blind",and openly crucify Christ afresh!


"When troubles (by the shakings) arise in the church we (General Conference leaders of the SDAchurch) should not go for help to lawyers not of our faith {to trademark the SDA name}. . . .They show that they have chosen the world as their judge, . . . Christ is crucified afresh, and putto open shame" 3 Selected Messages, pg. 299:1, 2--by EGW (boldings, braces were added).

"Matters have been presented before me that have filled my soul with keen anguish. I saw {SDA}men linking up arm in arm with {worldly} lawyers, but God was not in their company. Havingmany ideas regarding the work {to set up 'celebration' churches and stop Davidians}, they go tothe {worldly} lawyers for help to carry out their plans {to trademark their name}. I amcommissioned to say to such that they are not moving under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. 'Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Beelzebub the god ofEkron?' 2 Kings 1:3. Men in responsible position {SDA leaders} are uniting with those in the churchand out of the church, whose counsel is misleading." 8 Testimonies, pg. 69:2,3--by EGW (bolds, bracesadded).

The "blind" General Conference leaders of God's church do not see that Satan led them to crucifyChrist afresh, by fostering these two outstanding blasphemous abominations.

  1. He led them to set up a money-extortion program to defile the Sabbath.
  2. And he led them to defend this Sabbath-breaking program by using God's tithe money to hireworldly lawyers to trademark the name of His church Seventh-day Adventists.


Ever since the first SRod book was printed in 1930, the SDA leaders have tried to silence Christ'sthird rebuke by casting Davidians out of their churches to stop Elijah's message-angel of sealingthe 144,000 and those "with" them. And now, by their trademark war, which they hope willsilence forever the "cry" of the SRod, and terminate its work, they have exposed their desire tocrucify Christ by worldly lawyers. A faithful Seventh-day Adventist lawyer, however, wouldremember Jesus' words, "Woe unto you, lawyers!", and he would refuse to work for the GeneralConference leaders to go to law and trademark the name of God's last true remnant church Seventh-day Adventists. That, of course, is why the General Conference Corporation wasforced to hire worldly lawyers to do a work that Jesus strictly condemned! And these lawyersmay have advised them to close down an "offshoot" independent SDA church, by which to set aprecedence. They did this in Hawaii in 1987:


The Seventh-day Adventists' corporation filed suit in federal court yesterday, asking that a Kaiua-Kona church stop using the name 'Seventh-day Adventist.'

"The suit by the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventist is against theCongregational Church and its pastor John R. Marik, who says his church has about a dozenmembers.

"According to the suit, the corporation has used the name 'Seventh-day Adventist' since 1860 andhas grown to a membership of more than 4.5 million {1987} in 200 countries with about 10,000ordained ministers and about 15,000 churches.

"The suit said the corporation is the owner of the U.S. Trademark and Service Mark registrationof the name 'Seventh-day Adventist.'" Honolulu Star, April 10, 1987 (bolds, braces added).

It was Judge Foley in Honolulu who ruled in favor of the General Conference SDA Corporation;which revealed what they intended to do anyone using their name, Seventh-day Adventists:


  1. to deliver up to Plaintiff for destruction all labels, signs, prints, advertising materials, literature,packages, wrappers and other materials in the possession or custody of the Defendants, or any ofthem, or under their control, bearing the term "SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST", or is asimulation reproduction, counterfeit, copy, colorable imitation, abbreviation (including, withoutlimitation, the abbreviation "SDA" and colorable imitations of "SDA"), or other designationthereof, and all plates, molds, matrices and other means of making the same; and
  2. to file with this Court and to serve on the Plaintiff within thirty (30) days after service of thisJudgment and permanent Injunction, a written report under oath setting forth in detail the mannerand form in which the Defendants have complied with this injunction.DATED: Honolulu, Hawaii, November 30, 1987
            /S/Roger D. Foley
            Judge of the Above-Entitled Court

The Seventh-day Adventist Corporation won their lawsuit against these SDA believers in Hawaiiwho had a small church, and closed it down. Later in 1988 they were challenged by threeadventist organizations: (1) The Davidian Seventh-day Adventists in Missouri; (2) The GeneralAssociation of Davidian Seventh-day Adventists at P. O. Box 450, Salem, So. Carolina 29676,which is also Mt. Carmel Center at 282 Davidian Way, Tamassee, So. Car. 29686; and (3) the"Universal Publishing Association" in New York. They filed in California an "Amicus Curie brief"in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Court. The hearing took place on May 11,1989, and concluded with an opinion on Oct. 6, 1989:


"General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists,
"Seventh-day Adventist Congregational Church;
John R. Marik,

On October 6, 1989 an "OPINION from the United States Court of Appeals for the NinthCircuit" was issued' and lawyers for the "Defendants-Appellants" issued their summary:


"The judgment on the pleadings in favor of plaintiff is REVERSED, and the cause isREMANDED to the district court for further proceedings."

The "opinion" of the California Court ruled in favor of the "defendants" (SDA independent churchin Hawaii), which "reversed" the "pleadings in favor of" the General Conference.


The fact, however, that the name Seventh-day Adventist, being trademarked by the GeneralConference Corporation, was challenged and temporarily defeated (REVERSED), does notnecessarily mean that they will abandon the use of their trademarked name to sue other Seventh-day Adventists. They can still take action, because their case was "REMANDED" to the districtcourt for further proceedings." If they should proceed through the "district court" (which theywill in all probability do), they have a good chance of winning the case, and be permitted by lawto close down all the churches that use their name. That, of course, is exactly what they did.


In the mean time, the General Conference Corporation continued to close down otherindependent churches who use the name Seventh-day Adventist; and the extent of what theyintended to do is noted in the orders of Judge Foley in Honolulu. They first attacked small groupsto see what lawful means they would employ to defend themselves, and what arguments theymight use, one of which is this: "the name Seventh-day Adventist cannot be trademarked, becauseit is generic." By winning these lawsuits, it would make it easier for them to have a better chanceto win against other larger groups. And then, by the use of the "arm of the law," they could closedown any organization, or association, or church, if they do not stop using the name Seventh-dayAdventist. Since, however, their trademark name was not yet cleared by the courts, they couldnot expect to win every case.

In 1991 a lawsuit was brought against a homosexual organization who called themselves "TheSeventh-day Adventist Kinship International, Inc." But the General Conference ChurchCorporation lost that case, because the court ruled that the "Kinship" is a social not a worshipgroup. Obviously they use the name Seventh-day Adventist is to invite the lesbians andhomosexuals in that church to join their "Kinship" group.


And though most members did nothing about their name being trademarked, there was a retiredSDA brother in Pennsylvania named W.L. Perry, who fought hard against the Seventh-dayAdventist Church Corporation, along with an SDA attorney Max A. Corbett. Bro. Perry filed apetition for a hearing to take place in Virginia against the SDA trademark. The following is asummary of some major points in the petition which he submitted to the court:


  1. The name Seventh-day Adventist is GENERIC.
  2. Records show the trademark name signifies a category or class of religion which cannot betrademarked.
  3. It is customarily associated with an expression or practice of a religion.
  4. The SDA Church Corporation had never before objected to their name being used by othergroups and ministries; not until 1981 when they trademarked their name. And then it was notuntil 1987 that they sued in the Hawaii case.
  5. No alternative name exists which adequately describes an adherent to the beliefs of "Seventh-day Adventism" in publication names, religious observances or missionary services.
  6. And the list goes on with other minor points.

Those attending the hearing in Pennsylvania on June 7, 1993 to oppose the trademark name wasBro. Tony Hibbert, who represented the Davidians of the New York association; and the authorof this book [Don Adair], who represented the Davidians of the Salem Association; also Bro. Burec, whorepresented the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement. At the hearing we each submitteddepositions and religious literature using the name Seventh-day Adventist. The court and theAttorney for the SDA Church Corporation were impressed with the Salem Association'spublished books Shepherd's Rod Series and Symbolic Code Series, compared with the few loosetracts submitted to the court by others.


Later, the General Conference Church Corporation continued to pursue the trademarking oftheir name at another court. This time Bro. Perry decided to approach the problem from anotherangle. By the information he received from attorneys who were advising him, he petitioned theTrademark Commission for cancellation of the part of the trademarked name that included"religious publications, religious observations, and missionary services." At the time this petitionwas registered to go before the "Trademark Trial and Appeal Board," the laws governingtrademarks were different, which held it up. It was not until February of 1996 that the threejudges on the appeal Board rendered a decision: One judge was Judge G.D. Hohein; he voted infavor of Bro. Perry's petition to cancel the trademark name of Seventh-day Adventist. And theother two judges were Judge R.F. Cissel and Judge T.J. Quinn; they voted against thecancellation of the trademark name. Their decision, however, could be appealed before a highercourt of the "Federal Circuit Court of Appeals."


The filing date for this appeal had to be submitted before April 15, 1996; but we were not toldabout this news until two weeks before the deadline! It was Bro. Burec who represented theSeventh-day Adventist Reform Movement in Virginia that sent us paperwork about the news, andinformed us by phone of the need to appeal right away before the 15th of April. We were alsotold that we should hire the law firm in Washington D.C. to file our appeal, because they had wonthe "Kinship" case and would know what to do; but they wanted a $25,000 retainer fee. It wasduring this time that I went on a field trip to Virginia (April 5-11, 1996); so Sis. Marilyn Adaircalled the other Davidian associations to see if the money could be raised for the appeal. AndBro. Tony Hibbert said that he would make the appeal. He asked everyone to send him money tohire a lawyer in Florida who would file our appeal for a lot less money than $25,000, and we senthim money.

. . .


Later, I read in a SDA publication that the General Conference Corporation had won theirtrademark case on Dec. 16, 1996! This surprised me, because Bro. Hibbert told Davidians he hada lawyer filing an appeal; but I learned he was not a trademark attorney. Some Davidians said hedid not file the appeal properly, or did not file it at all; and others said Bro. Hibbert tried to get anextension of time to refile the appeal, but the court refused. So I talked to him on the phone, andhe said it was true. He also said that his lawyer returned their money, and he would return ourmoney, which he finally did. Now we knew that they can use the "arm of the law" to prosecuteanyone who uses their name.

. . .


As for the legally trademarked name granted to the General Conference Corporation, now theyhave another weapon to fight against the SRod message, besides their lies, to have Davidians castout of the church. Now they can legally restrict the religious freedom of all Seventh-dayAdventists, and deny them their right to use that name to keep them from studying the SRodmessage for themselves and receive the seal. But they are "blind" and do not realize the terribleconsequences which must result from a judicial decision in their favor, and the impact it will havein favor of the "man" whose number is "666"! They do not see that while they are warning theProtestant Churches to beware of the man 666, they are unwittingly using their trademarked nameto initiate the basic principle of religious intolerance. And this they have done by opening the wayfor the major Sunday churches to follow their unscrupulous example, and restrict the religiousfreedoms of the minority churches.

And this will make them responsible for the healing of the "deadly wound" on the leopard-likebeast! The General Conference Corporation, therefore, cannot see that the trademarking of theirname has set a precedence of religious intolerance, which will one day "spread into Babylon"(Protestant Churches in confusion); and continue to spread after these leaders have died in theslaughter of Ezekiel 9. Then the false prophet, will influence the voting public to "make an imageto the beast" by giving the man "666" the dict[at]orial power to restrict all religious freedoms inAmerica, and force everyone by a death decree to worship the devil's image-beast, or be killed!


But why would the General Conference Corporation commit such a terrible crime? crucify Jesusby their trademark name, and also heal the "deadly would." And why would they try to revive thepapal spirit (religious intolerance)? while they warn other churches by the third angel's messagenot to worship the "beast and his image"! Because they are "blind", which leads them toerroneously conclude that they must protect their money-extortion program at all costs; even ifthey must disobey Sis. White's admonition not to hire worldly lawyers to trademark their name,making them guilty of crucifying Christ afresh. But why? because they are "deceived", andbelieve that the "ends justifies the means"! They think God will bless their extorsion money ifthey use it to preach the third angel's message; and trademark their name to obstruct the sealingwork and silence Jesus' third rebuke, which strictly condemns their Sabbath-breaking extorsion-program!

And now that the SDA leadership have their name trademarked, they will intensify theirLaodicean war against Jesus' third rebuke by persecuting the Davidians, which they think is rightfor them to do. Instead, they are "all wrong", because they are like Saul of Tarsus who believethat they are only persecuting Davidians; but they have crucified Jesus afresh, and are persecutingHim in the form of Truth The Shepherd's Rod message! Unlike Paul, however, who repented,they refuse to "repent" of believing that they need no more truth. As a result, they are warringagainst the marking and sealing of the 144,000.

. . .


Now that the General Conference Corporation has won their trademark case, they will, ofcourse, use the "arm of the law" to enforce the full penalty of the law uuponall Seventh-dayAdventists who would dare use their name. And especially does this Goliath Corporationexpect to continue their war against the sealing of the 144,000, by iinflicting if they can, evenmore severe penalties upon the Davidians. It was for this reason that we at the SalemHeadquarters did what little we could during the time of the appeal, by acquiring trademarks ofour own in the State of So. Carolina; which we had copyrighted in Washington, D.C. at theLibrary of Congress.

Our first trademark is on the left side above. It clearly identifies us as "THE GENERALASSOCIATION OF DAVIDIAN UPSHOOTS cast out of the church of." The name of thatchurch is at the bottom "SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS." As for the trademark on the rightside above, this is how we would use it: If anyone in the SDA church should try to trap us intosaying we are Seventh-day Adventists (to bring us to court), by asking us this question: "Are youa Seventh-day Adventist," then we can tell them this: "I believe the Sabbath, the 2300-dayprophecy, three angel's messages, the Spirit of prophecy by E.G. White, and dress and healthreform, etc., therefore "I can't believe I'm not a Seventh-day Adventist!"


It may be in 1997 that the giant Goliath General Conference Corporation, will find some way tobring against us the "arm of the law." But they cannot come against us in the name of the Lord,for they have hired lawyers of the "world" to trademark the name of His church, which crucifiedus with a "sword" in the name of a court of law to enforce their trademark name. And whatdefense will we Salem Davidians have? Certainly not our trademarks or copyrights and logos.

End of A Davidian Perspective by Don Adair


The Trademark Name
1988 Hawaii Trademark Case

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