Illegal Use of United Church of God Name and Logo
[The following was sent by president Dennis Luker to the United Church of God ministry December 16.]
Dear Fellow Elders,
Please read the following important memo from Media and Communications Services.
December 16, 2010
Re: Illegal Use of United Church of God, an International Association Name and Logo
You may be aware that a few anonymously prepared letters that are critical of the Council of Elders and/or other Church leaders have been posted online that appear under the letterhead of our trademarked United Church of God, an International Association (“UCGIA”) name and logo or seal. The use of our name and logo as contained in the letterhead from these anonymous writers falsely suggests that UCG leadership has endorsed such communications or that they in some fashion represent legitimate communication on behalf of the United Church of God.
By wrongly using these corporate symbols, the documents appear to be clearly intended to anonymously communicate, in what appears to be an official capacity, with the ministry and congregations of UCGIA. This wrong use of corporate logos and seals has caused some confusion as to the origin of these letters. As noted below, the Church has taken action to halt this inappropriate usage.
We would like to point out that the use of such anonymous tactics is not new to the Church of God. The apostle Paul warned ministers and members in ancient Greece about forgeries of church documents even in the first century: “Now we do implore you…to keep your heads and not be thrown off balance by any prediction or message or letter purporting to come from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Phi).
It remains a sad mystery as to how anonymous writings can hope to possess any degree of credibility, particularly when these writings also illegally use the Church’s letterhead (name and logo or seal) as a prop for legitimacy.
With regard to this wrongful use of the Church’s name and logo, the Church’s copyright attorney is sending letters to those who are helping to distribute these anonymous letters using the UCGIA Marks. The letter advises the parties concerned that doing so constitutes unlawful acts of trademark infringement, dilution and passing off, and the like, which are in clear violation of UCGIA’s incontestable federal registrations for the trademark, service mark and trade name UNITED CHURCH OF GOD and its associated (globe) logo.
The letter includes an appropriate legal demand that these parties cease and desist from allowing or promoting such usage. In the interim, please be aware if you or any one in your congregation should happen to come across such documents, they do not represent legitimate communication from UCGIA.
Peter Eddington—Operation Manager, Media and Communications Services