News has come in of the result of the first battle in the trademark registration case being fought between Ordo Templi Orientis and Starfire Publishing Ltd. This began in January 2004, when Starfire opposed the registration of various marks of the letters “OTO” for printed and electronic works, and for religious instruction, education and training services.
After numerous statements from both sides, and following a hearing in late February of this year, the decision from the Trade Marks Registry, as of 6th August, has gone in favour of Starfire Publishing.
The grounds given for the success of Starfire’s opposition relate principally to the hearing officer’s view that the name OTO would be understood by most informed persons as being capable of referring not simply to Ordo Templi Orientis as it exists under Hymenaeus Beta, but also to the Typhonian OTO and other such groups (as argued by Starfire, et al.); also, that OTO is a religious sect akin to Anglicanism, and not a distinct organisation capable of holding a trademark. Therefore, the judgment was that the letters “OTO” could not be used to denote the goods or services of one particular entity.
Naturally, an appeal is expected. This could go to the High Court, or otherwise to an independent expert appointed by the Lord Chancellor. More news when it arrives…