Re-Information Fact Sheet

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflondon at
Sun Jul 9 21:40:22 EDT 2000

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Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 17:48:29 -0400
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Subject: 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
to DA.

	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.

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