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Court rules breakaway cannot call itself The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina

Court rules breakaway cannot call itself The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina

In the Alice in Wonderland world created by breakaway diocese formed in South Carolina left declared itself independent of the Episcopal Church, but insisted in calling itself The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. A long legal battle ensued during which time the diocese loyal to the Episcopal Church had to call itself The Episcopal Church in South Carolina (TECSC).

The U.S. District Court in South Carolina has ruled in favor of the loyalists. From the TECSC website:


Judge Gergel Finds in Favor of TECSC in Trademark Infringement and False Advertising Case

9/19/2019

U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Gergel today offered an Order and Opinion in favor of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina in the federal false-advertising and trademark infringement lawsuit against the bishop of a group that left The Episcopal Church in 2012.
His 73-page decision is best summarized in the final pages:“The time has come for this dispute to be resolved. The Defendants have every right to disassociate from the TEC and pursue their doctrine and community as they see fit, yet they may not leave with the Plaintiffs’ goodwill and marks generated over the course of over two centuries. The Court is cognizant that Defendants have since associated with a new denominational organization, and there may be other marks that properly identify their affiliation with this organization and would be sufficiently distinct to not cause any confusion with or dilute TEC’s marks or constitute false advertising. However, on the facts presented here, the Court finds it undisputed that the Defendants infringed on TEC and TECSC’s marks, diluted TEC’s marks and engaged in false advertising regarding their affiliation with TECSC and their identity. Therefore, as detailed below, the Court issues an injunction against further trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false advertising.

IV. Conclusion
For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS Plaintiffs The Right Reverend Charles G. vonRosenberg, et al. ‘s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 584). The Court GRANTS TEC’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 595). The Court DENIES Defendants The Right Reverend Mark J. Lawrence, et al. ‘s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 603). The Court · DENIES Defendants The Right Reverend Mark J. Lawrence, et al. ‘s Motion for Summary Judgment as to Genericness. (Dkt. No. 610.)

The Court further DECLARES that TEC owns its five federally registered marks (Dkt. Nos. 595-5; 595-7; 595-8; 595-9; 595-11 ; 595-64; 595-65; 595-67; 595-68) and that TECSC owns the marks designated in the state registrations (Dkt. No. 584-3).

Additionally, the Court hereby issues the following PERMANENT INJUNCTION and ENJOINS all Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, associates, subsidiaries and affiliates from using the following marks or any mark confusingly similar:

  • The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States;
  • The Episcopal Church;
  • The Episcopal Church Welcomes You;
  • La Iglesia Episcopal, and;
  • The Episcopal Shield.

The Court further enjoins Defendants their officers, agents, servants, employees, associates, subsidiaries and affiliates from using the following marks or any mark confusingly similar:

  • Diocese of South Carolina;
  • The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina;
  • The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina;
  • The Diocesan Seal. 

The full decision is still being studied, and more information is to come.

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Christopher SEITZ
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Christopher SEITZ

One wonders what 'winning' genuinely means on the ground, for TECSC?

29 parishes with 17,000 people who long ago decided their identity was their home of generations in EDSC. Now to be evacuated? Well, the mediation, re real property, is slated to start 26 September I believe.

TEC now does not have to do the business of starting up a new diocese for its some 7K members, because a Federal Judge has told them that one SCSC judge's footnote is probative, and the EDSC is now a TEC Diocese.

Let's see what happens with the real property and the real worshippers in them.

'Winning' is now chiefly 'defeating.'

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Steve Price
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Steve Price

The real embarrassment in this issue belongs to the judicial system of the state of South Carolina,particularly the state Court in Orangeburg which has lost all credibility as an impartial instrument of justice.All decisions made by this judge in any case that has come before him should be subject to mandatory review at state expense.

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Kenneth Knapp
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Kenneth Knapp

I don't have a dog in the fight but I think that maybe they could "split the baby" by giving the TEC the IP rights and giving the traditional Diocese the real property rights. It would be a good thing if the church could end this embarrassing episode in our history.

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Kurt Hill
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Kurt Hill

Some good news from South Carolina for a change...

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Steve Price
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Steve Price

I don't know if this helps in TECSC 's efforts to regain control of it's parish properties and assets illegally seized by the phonies seven years ago Even though the SC Supreme Court ruled those belong to TECSC.their return is being successfully filibustered in a low level court by a judge formerly affilliated with the legal team representing the breakaway group and is doing everything he can to sabotage the Supreme Court decision

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