Here is my reply to the threatening letter sent to me by Scientology lawyers (see http://www.gate.net/~shipbrk/Co$/threat.html):
15 July 1998 VIA E-MAIL TO xxxxxxxxxx@EARTHLINK.NET AND US MAIL Thomas M. Small, Esq.
Small Larkin & Kiddé, LLP Eighteenth Floor 10940 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024-3945 Dear Mr. Small:
I am in receipt of your letter dated 10 July 1998, ordering me to cease and desist use of your clients' trademark on my personal Web pages, namely, the S-and-double-triangle logo of Church of Scientology International and Religious Technology Center.
While the supporting documentation you enclosed appears to be irregular -- you represented it as a federal trademark registration certificate, yet it does not bear the signature of the Commissioner of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as described in 15 USC §1057(a) -- I accept your claim that said mark has been entered in the principal register as the property of one of your clients, namely Religious Technology Center.
However, I must dispute your assertion that my "unauthorized use of this trademark" requires immediate removal.
The Lanham Act clearly sets forth the terms required for use of a trademark to be found infringing; under §32 (15 USC §1114), it is expressly stated that use in commerce is required for such a claim. My Web site does not offer for sale or distribution any products or services, whether in conjunction with the Scientology-related Web pages or otherwise; it does not apply the trademark or service mark to goods or services other than the Church of Scientology (indeed, its presence is to reinforce the fact that it is your client which is discussed by my Web pages).
Furthermore, my use of your clients' trademark (or, more properly, service mark) is expressly protected from claims of dilution by 15 USC §1125(c)(4)(B) and (C), which respectively state that noncommercial use of a mark, and all forms of news reporting and news commentary, shall not be actionable under the anti-dilution statutes.
As the attorney handling this matter, Ms. Jodi Sax, has indicated to me that she has viewed my Web site, and furthermore the documentation sent to me appears to have been printed from your law firm rather than by your clients, it is evident that your firm has had ample opportunity to discover that my site is non-commercial in nature, and any potential litigation undertaken against me by your firm must obviously be done with full knowledge that any claims of infringement or dilution are completely without merit.
Sincerely, Jeffrey S. Lee