Church of Scientology Versus The Independent Field, Part 1
Let’s say we have a fellow named Joe Jones who thinks he’s found a way to get rich quick. Joe knows that Coca-Cola is more popular than Pepsi, but Pepsi is cheaper to buy. So he proceeds to gather up a bunch of Coke bottles and fill them with Pepsi, re-cap them and sell them as Coca-Cola.
Let’s say you’ve drunk Coca-Cola and Pepsi since you were a kid, and you can tell the difference between the two (some people can’t). And you prefer Coca-Cola. So one day you go into the mini-mart after filling up your gas tank, and buy a Coke. You’re all ready for that clean, refreshing taste. You pop the top on your bottle of Coke and take a big drink. Argh! This doesn’t taste like Coke at all! It tastes like Pepsi! You take the bottle back into the mini-mart and complain to the owner.
(I’m not proclaiming anything, including a personal preference for Coke over Pepsi. It is simply a convenient example. If you prefer Pepsi, just switch the example around in your mind. The principle is the same.)
What’s Joe done wrong? He’s violated trademark law. Trademark law is based on the idea that, if you buy a product with a certain name on it, you expect it to conform to certain standards set by its maker. It applies to things like Cadillac automobiles, Big Mac hamburgers, Frisbee flying disks or any number of other products and services including carbonated drinks. Joe has sold a product which purports to be Coca-Cola, but is in fact not Coca-Cola at all, but a competing product with an entirely different formula and taste.
How does this apply to Scientology? Scientology is perhaps the first example in history of an applied religious philosophy which has trademarked its name. You may have noticed in the paragraph above, when I used a trademarked name (like Cadillac), I followed it with the more general name of products in that category. That’s actually the proper way to refer to such things. Trademarked products and services are particular examples of more general products and services. So in our case, it would be proper to say, “Scientology applied religious philosophy”, to distinguish Scientology from other “applied religious philosophies”.
But what makes Scientology different from other applied religious philosophies? To make a long story short, our technology. When I say “technology” here, I mean our administrative, ethics and auditing technologies as laid out by L. Ron Hubbard. When properly applied, our technologies produce more able and happier people, booming orgs, and a better environment. Not to compare Scientology to hamburgers, but when you walk into any McDonald’s on the planet and you buy a Big Mac, you expect it to have certain ingredients in certain proportions, arranged a certain way, resulting in a certain taste. Similarly, if you walk into any Scientology organization on the planet, you expect its Treasury Division to have invoices composed of five copies (according to policy in volume 3 of the Organization Executive Course), for example.
Now, notice in the above paragraph, I mention that Scientology’s uniquely trademarked aspect is its technologies as laid out by L. Ron Hubbard. Not Bob Johnson or Sam Foster. Ron founded this subject and is considered its Founder and Source. We don’t mix it with something else. That’s called squirreling. And the result is not Scientology. If someone in the field were to open a place to deliver what he called “Scientology”, but actually delivered a mix of LRH tech and something else (or containing no LRH tech at all), it would be a squirrel operation.
It would also be a trademark violation.
Now I want to ask you to consider something very carefully. Churches of Scientology are supposed to deliver Scientology applied religious philosophy, and operate using its technologies. But what if, one day, they stopped doing that? What if they delivered something else? Or what if they delivered something which was a mixture of LRH tech and something else? Or what if they delivered and operated on something significantly altered from LRH’s original technologies? Would that be a violation of trademark?