Information Fact Sheet/Biodynamic Trademark
uai at alltel.net
Sun Jul 9 18:04:13 EDT 2000
Dear BDnow and Sanet readers,
Here is an excerpt from a post concerning the biodynamic trademark
discussion that provoked comment from Allan Balliett and Woody Wodraska
>V. Proper venue for comment
> Remarks thrown out on the internet even though addressed to particular
>people or organizations are not considered to be in a proper context to
>elicit comment. If comment is desired, please address your remarks to
>the appropriate organization and deliver via mail, fax or private
>email. An assurance that replies will not be posted on the internet is
>required. In many respects, the internet, though extremely useful,
>operates outside the bounds of propriety. There is not the personnel
>time available to engage in this forum.
The above passage evoked comment by Allan Balliet and Woody Wodraska and
perhaps deserves comment by me as well since I am intimately involved.
Though the original post was not signed, as Allan pointed out, it
originated from demeter at baldcom.net, which presumably is Anne Mendenhall.
In any event I responded to her that I was relieved that she was
communicating this time on the issue of the use of the term biodynamic. We
really need her in the discussion since Demeter, which she leads, possesses
the trademark on the term biodynamic.
It is not hopeful, however, that she shies away from a public forum such as
BDnow nor that she tries to shame me for unfolding this affair in public. I
don't buy into the shame, however, so no loss there. Nor do I buy the
proposition that a stir such as this one, precipitated by Greg Willis, is
something we don't need. I do not think the Creator gives us anything we
don't need and the question really is what are we supposed to do with this?
You know, a batter who thinks he doesn't need a left-handed curve ball is
hardly going to be much use in whacking it over the outfield fence and
winning the ballgame. So let's see what can be done with this. We could hit
a home run.
Allan has brought up once again the question of maybe we should find
another term to refer to the regenerative method of agriculture we all know
presently as biodynamic. I disagree as it has taken 75 years to get this
term as far as it has come in the public awareness. Clearly it is the
Demeter Association's position to sit in judgment on those who use the
term. And Demeter international has much the same agenda it seems. Greg is
using the term as Agri-Synthesis certified biodynamic and Demeter is
proposing that he can only use it as Agri-Synthesis certified modified
biodynamic. Those who are acquainted with advertising and PR will see right
away that putting "modified" on a label is the kiss of death to a product
and Greg will never agree to such a thing. And anyway, Greg has an
absolutely superior stirring technique, he is using horn clay and he trains
his growers to do whatever they have to to get the preps working from the
very beginning in their vinyards. Demeter requires a minimum of one
application of the BD preps per year for a minimum of three years and there
is no real quality control that determines if the preps are working rightly
even then. Greg has spent nearly two decades developing his clairvoyant
perception of energy in nature and he can tell immediately when the preps
are working or if something is missing or out of balance. So his
certification--and this is hard for Demeter to believe I'm sure, but it's
true--is more rigorous than Demeter's. What really pushes Demeter's
buttons, however, is that Greg is often able to certify growers in one year
at a higher level of biodynamic than Demeter accomplishes in three years or
even ten. So there is no meeting of the minds on the technical issues to
say nothing of the political ones. Demeter wants to use their trademark
against Greg and that is sure going to end up in court with Demeter having
big legal bills along with getting their trademark taken away no matter
what it costs Greg.
Greg has a biodynamic cure for Pierce's Disease, which threatens the whole
California wine industry. No one else has a cure. Greg's cure is to convert
to biodynamic, but it has to be Greg's high level biodynamic because hit
and miss biodynamics isn't enough to address the causes and remedy the
problem. Greg DOES NOT want the "modified" label and if he gets the
business of curing California's Pierce's Disease he is going to have so
many millions at his disposal his team of lawyers will eat Demeter from
rectum to snout and there won't be anything left. It will be a epic saga to
watch unfold, that's for sure. And you heard about it first on BDnow and
Well, we'll see. But maybe it does not have to come to the point of lawyers
making scads of money off of this. For my own part I have discovered how to
grow corn as a soil improvement crop with no inputs other than field
broadcasting the full array of BD Preps including Greg's horn clay. I'm
talking about 200 bushel to the acre and maybe even 300 bushel to the acre
corn yields of the highest quality. The horn clay, along with field
broadcasting has proven the key to everything and if you don't believe it
come to my conference on Labor Day weekend and look at my corn. When the
farmers in the corn belt learn how to do this BD corn of the highest
quality will be grown without fertilizer while building up the organic
content of the soil, and the chemical companies will be finished. Really
corn is just the leader and this is possible with almost every kind of crop.
I'm going to make it clear this is biodynamics at its best. I may have to
explain this is not the biodynamics one would learn if one went to the
Demeter Association and endeavored to follow their guidelines, but I fully
intend to call it biodynamic. It has all the roots and history of
biodynamics behind it and it gets to the basic issues of biodynamics much
better than the Demeter guidelines do. And it does not require any three
year wait to become biodynamic. With my field broadcasters I can really get
the BD preps working fast and like Greg I can tell when they are working
and when they are not. My co-worker, Lorraine Cahill, can tell. We can
teach farmers how to tell. Demeter needs to pay attention and catch up. I'd
personally be happy to teach anyone how to tell. I don't hold onto shame,
blame and regret and if Anne Mendenhall wants to know anything I know I'll
be happy to share.
Originally Hugh Courtney discovered how to restore normal rainfall by
sequential spraying of the BD preps, but at this point Lorraine and I have
taken this to a much more sophisticated art in making rain. Biodynamic
rainmaking. It's a reality. It is immanently do able. Demeter will be hard
pressed to stop every Tom, Dick and Harry from calling it biodynamic rather
than Union Agricultural Institute modified biodynamic which I refuse to buy
into for the same reasons as Greg does with Agri-Synthesis modified
biodynamic. It is the kiss of death in the advertising and PR field. It is
really out of Demeter's control already, but they still own the trademark
at present. If they choose to enforce it they are in for a bloody battle
especially if I can find out how to turn my knowledge of growing corn and
making rain into money. Then I'll have plenty of funds to fight for the
free use of the term biodynamic in court.
Greg and I have modified biodynamic all right. We went back to the basics
and made biodynamic work at the level it is capable of instead of some
watered down ritualism. There's no way we should have to put the word
modified on our labels. But if Demeter wants to look at what we are doing
and bring what they are doing up to our speed I for one will be happy to
help them. And even if they don't I don't have a problem with their use of
the term biodynamic. The rub is that they have a problem with my use of the
I'm personally of the opinion that if this discussion was NOT in a public
forum like BDnow and SANET that I would not have heard back from Demeter at
all. Maybe I'm wrong, and if so I apologise for my lack of faith, but I
still think publicity is what we need, not secrecy. So I'm not sorry for
making things public. The more public the better as far as I can see.
Greg is turning over negotiations on this to an officer of his corporation.
His stock price went from $5 to $10 a share (not on the NYSE yet) as of
friday. In another year it could be over $100 a share and climbing. He's
got to concentrate on Pierce's Disease and leave these trademark
negotiations up to folks far better at them than he is.
The negotiations will be carried out without the details posted to this
list. They HAVE to be because realistically it is impossible for people to
lay their cards on the table and change their positions unless they feel
utterly safe in laying themselves bare.
I hope to post an occasional summary. And we will see what develops.
Biodynamics is fixing to become the cool, in thing. It is fixing to come
out of the closet and divest itself of its mysterious cult air. Stay tuned
because with curing Pierce's Disease, growing high yield corn with no
inputs to improve the soil and making rain you are just seeing the tip of
the iceberg of what biodynamics can do.
The entire message is reproduced below:
From: demeter at baldcom.net
Delivered-To: org-grow at pd.org
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 17:48:29 -0400
Reply-To: demeter at baldcom.net
To: bdnow at envirolink.org, indrual at bigpond.com, fred at acresusa.com, igg at igg.com,
agdoc at email.msn.com, amangan at got.net, ana07968 at nifty.com,
bbumbarg at haverford.edu, christine at lilipoh.com, joffedaron at aol.com,
davbrad at aol.com, org-grow at pd.org, gilrob at dove.net.ua,
romerog at col1.telmex.net.mx, vanilla at racsa.co.cr, Thomson at extra.co.nz,
jgwri at hotmail.com, wribluehill at hotmail.com, jerrywhn at fallsnet.com,
dowser at mindspring.com, lbarnes at primeline.com, villager at netrover.com,
marksh at organicvalley.com, fragfarm at aol.com,
market-farming at franklin.oit.unc.edu, info at merkabah.com,
nealbas at yahoo.com, pproctor at inhb.co.nz, mdav at virginia.edu,
birdnest at alltel.net, steved at ncatark.uart.edu, sbruno75 at aol.com,
ward at onthenet.com.au, wess105 at flash.net
Subject: Re-Information Fact Sheet
RE-INFORMATION FACT SHEET
Some incorrect information and innuendos have circulated recently that
need to be corrected. These pages are an attempt to do that.
I. Rationale for a trademark on Biodyamic®
To understand the present 'trademark war' in the U.S. we have to go
back to 1924 in Europe. This was the year of Steiner's agricultural
lectures. An Experimental Circle was formed to work with his concepts.
This Experimental Circle coined the term 'biologish-dynamish' or in
English bio-dynamic, putting together 'biological' to indicate life and
'dynamic' to indicate interaction with wider spheres, such as the
cosmos. The name Demeter was chosen soon after to be the trademark of
Biodynamic agriculture in the marketplace and this began in 1928. Later
Bio-Dyn was also trademarked. Thus from the very beginning Biodynamic
products were linked to the name Demeter and later also to Bio-Dyn.
To this day the word 'Biodynamic' does not need to be trademark
protected in Europe because after more than 70 years of close
association between Biodynamic and Demeter, or Bio-Dyn, the connection
is well-known. In countries such as Germany and Netherlands, if anyone
claims to have Biodynamic products but is not Demeter certified, he or
she receives a letter asking how they can prove that they are what they
claim. If they are not Demeter certified, there is no proof, and that's
the end of the story.
In the U.S. this connection does not exist. Biodynamics immigrated to
our shores in the 1930's and was known to a mere handful of people.
There was some thought given to trademarking Demeter at that time, but
it was dropped. It was not until 1982 that we saw the beginning of
Demeter work in this country, approximately 50 years after it had begun
in Europe. By 1982 'Biodynamic' was a word that quite a few people had
heard, but almost no one associated it with Demeter. It has been a slow
process to build the connection.
Beginning in 1990, the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association
held a certification mark on the word 'Biodynamic.' In March, 1997, on
legal advice, the BDA asked Demeter to hold 'Biodynamic' as a
certification mark. Demeter Association agreed to do this. The
application was filed and registration granted in 1999.
Having the word 'Biodynamic' in the public domain, which is where it is
unless registered, means that anyone could use it. USDA could co-opt it
as they have done with the public domain word 'organic.' Monsanto could
become Biodynamic, a not incongruous step from Life Sciences. If
Biodynamic is in the public domain, it will quickly lose its meaning.
If there are many different versions of Biodynamic, consumers will
become confused and if the movement grows, sooner or later someone will
petition USDA to control the situation, as with organic. It only took
the organic movement about 10 years to go from being in the ''what's
that?''category to being regulated by the 1990 Organic Foods Production
Act. It could happen to Biodynamic. The Biodynamic Association Board,
rather than being vilified, should be applauded for having the foresight
to keep this word out of the public domain where it will become
meaningless. In fact, the Association's principle charitable purpose is
to foster, guide, and safeguard the Biodynamic method of agriculture,
horticulture, and forestry in North America. The BDA has acted on this.
Attorneys on both sides of this dispute agree that it is not possible
to register a term and place it in the public domain. Basically any
term is already in the public domain unless and until it is registered
to some party having a major defining interest. Demeter has the longest
standing connection to Biodynamics, has an international reputation, and
holds the mark on behalf of the Biodynamic Association. It is in the
best interests of the majority of practitioners that the term be
protected by a long standing, internationally known, non-profit
association. It is not in the best interest of the movement that the
term be available to profit making enterprises unless these enterprises
enter into some agreement for use of the term.
II. Historic connection of Demeter Certification through BDAs
There has been reference to the 'incestuous' relationship between
Demeter and the BDA. In most countries in the world which operate
Demeter certification programs, the certification program is run as a
project of the country's Biodynamic associaiton. Thus in many
countries the certification work goes on from the same office and with
the same Board of Directors as the Biodynamic work.
In the U.S. the BDA Board was not ready to undertake a certification
program in 1982 when the impetus arose for a beginning; therefore the
Demeter work developed somewhat independently of BDA but through the
efforts of Maria Linder, who was at that time on the BDA Board, along
with a group in CA and on the East Coast. The connection has always
been close. The BDA Board is given a Demeter update, as well as a JPI
update, at each meeting.
III. Non-profits and BDA finances
The Biodynamic Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation.
The Demeter Association is organized as a non-profit corporation but has
not applied for tax exempt status. No funding flows directly from BDA
The BDA Board has several members representing non-profits which have
in the past or may in the future receive funding. Should this happen,
the member abstains from voting.
There is a threat to sue BDA for misuse of dues. It has long been known
that member dues do not even cover the cost of printing the
"Biodynamics" journal; therefore a lawsuit in this regard would be
IV. Demeter, BDA and innovation
It is said that Demeter and BDA are not interested in innovations. This
is hardly so. Demeter has accepted a number of innovations beyond
classical Biodynamics as presented by Rufolf Steiner, such as Thun
barrel compost, planting calendars, stirring machines, flow forms, the
JPI pre-potentized preps, Pfeiffer compost starter, etc. Demeter has
not accepted pipes/tubes as the sole means of applying preps, based on
advice from many different quarters; however, Demeter has not refused to
certify any farm wanting to experiment with the technique. Demeter has
not refused to certify any farm working with any particular advisor.
Demeter certification is open to all who meet the standards.
V. Proper venue for comment
Remarks thrown out on the internet even though addressed to particular
people or organizations are not considered to be in a proper context to
elicit comment. If comment is desired, please address your remarks to
the appropriate organization and deliver via mail, fax or private
email. An assurance that replies will not be posted on the internet is
required. In many respects, the internet, though extremely useful,
operates outside the bounds of propriety. There is not the personnel
time available to engage in this forum.
More information about the Market-farming