Church trademarks, such as “Seventh-day Adventist,” “Adventist,” and “Ministry,” may be used only in connection with denominational ministries and non-commercial activities of approved lay and professional groups. Use of these trademarks shall be controlled by the General Conference Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists through the Office of General Counsel. Church trademarks shall not be used in any manner that will jeopardize the Church’s tax-exempt status.
- Existing Entities. Church entities that have denominational status and are included in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook at the time of adoption of this policy and procedure may use the trademarks in their names and ministries.
- New Denominational Administrative Entities. New administrative entities, such as missions, conferences, union conferences, and divisions that are approved by the General Conference Committee may use the trademarks in their names and ministries.
- New Denominational Institutions. When new institutions apply for denominational status (see NAD C 47), the Retirement Plan Committee shall refer all applications of institutions using one of the trademarks to the Office of General Counsel for clearance before the application is approved by the Retirement Plan Committee.
- Local Churches. Local churches and companies may use the trademarks in their ministries once their status has been approved by the local conference or mission.
- Lay Groups. Lay and professional groups must apply for written permission to the Office of General Counsel. The articles and bylaws of such groups must indicate that they are independent of the Church and are not its agents as well as meet other criteria. After receipt of written notice of General Conference approval, such groups may use the trademarks solely for noncommercial purposes.
- Revocation of Permission. For cause the General Conference Corporation Board of Directors may revoke permission of any denominational entity or lay group to use the trademarks. “For cause” includes, but is not limited to, conflict with the objectives or doctrines of the Church as determined by the General Conference and commercial use by nonchurch groups.
Internal Procedure of Seventh-day Adventist Trademark Committee
- Requests for Use of a Church Trademark
- Office of General Counsel considers request.
- If Officers approve, the Office of General Counsel presents the request to the General Conference Corporation Board of Directors.
- If the General Conference Corporation approves, then the Office of General Counsel sends a notice of approval and a license agreement to the applicant to execute.
- Evaluation of Unauthorized Use of a Church Trademark
- Office of General Counsel evaluates use.
- Office of General Counsel reports to Officers.
- Office of General Counsel sends conciliatory letter stating the problem and offering to discuss possible solutions.
- If response is negative, Office of General Counsel sends polite cease-and-desist letter.
- If Office of General Counsel receives negative response, the Office of General Counsel and Officers consider the situation for possible litigation or other action.
- Recommendation for action is submitted to appropriate administrative committee and General Conference Board of Directors for approval.
- Revocation of permission for use of a Church trademark will follow the same basic procedure as outlines in subsection b. of this internal procedure, with final action on revocation, however, voted by the General Conference Board of Directors.
Divisions other than North America are requested to take appropriate actions in harmony with these guidelines.