Update On The "Eden" Trademark Dispute
"Sometimes relational peace is not possible--sometimes you have to stand up for what is right, even if it causes conflict"---Dr. Rita
Some of you have contacted me, justifiably concerned (and even angry), wanting to alert the Christian media about the trademark dispute brought against The Eden Diet by the Eden Foods company (a health food company in Michigan). Though I have no control over your decisions, allow me fill you in on the details of the dispute, so you don't mis-state the facts of the case or misrepresent the ministry to the public.
The Eden Foods company claims trademark ownership of the singular word "Eden" in regard to health food products. Because of the trademark, about a year and a half ago, Eden Foods sent me a cease and desist letter, saying I am not legally allowed to use the word "Eden" in reference to matters of diet. They even stated in a written document submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office that our use of the phrase "The Eden Diet" could potentially injure their health food company by causing consumers to confuse my book and workbook with their health food products. I guess they haven't actually seen my book cover, which features a huge piece of chocolate cake (not exactly a health food).
Obviously, since we are using the "Eden" reference in a religious way in rather than to produce health food products (we don't even produce the same kind of products they do), we do not compete with their company in any way. We cannot possibly "injure" them. Thus, our use of the word "Eden" should not be limited by their trademark.
In the name of Christian freedom of speech, I have decided to fight this dispute with the US Patent And Trademark Office. I will even fight it in Federal Court if I have to. I don't believe that a Christian group should be restricted from using the word "Eden" in a religious context. What will be next? A trademark on the word "Jesus"?
I'm eager to hear YOUR take on this situation. Why on earth do YOU think this company is so dead-set against our use of the word "Eden"? Do you think it's just plain "big business" (money-driven policeing of trademarks)? Do you think it's a matter of a health food company thinking it's blasphemy to condone the eating of chocolate cake? Or, worst case scenario, could it possibly be anti-Christian religious bigotry (i.e. an attack on our ministry to some extent driven by religious differences)? The latter possibility makes me nauseous. But if it's the latter issue, what should we do about it? Alert the media? Tell the ACLJ? Or the Rutherford Institute? You tell me.
Regarding what YOU can do to help us retain the right to speak freely about "Eden," let me encourage you to pray for whatever God believes is "right and good" to happen in this situation. If it's a matter of relgious bigotry, let God's will be done. If it's a money-driven matter, let God's will be done there, too. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Let me assure you that this ministry is not in any way profitable, but I promise you it's doing good things for people and I believe God will reward that, even if only in Heaven.