We would like to inform our members and donors of a legal dispute in which Beltway Atheists is currently involved.
On March 15, 2011, Beltway Atheists Inc. applied for a trademark with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It was approved for publication on June 27, 2011 and published for opposition in the Trademark Official Gazette (OG) on August 30, 2011 (http://tarr.uspto.gov/tarr?regser=serial&entry=85267284). We did so to protect our brand so we can accomplish our stated mission.
On September 28, 2011, 2 days before the opposition deadline, a trademark opposition was filed by “Capital Beltway Atheists”, an unincorporated association, by its officers Shelley Mountjoy and Christopher Arntzen,” claiming exclusive rights to the name Beltway Atheists (http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?pno=91201790&pty=OPP&eno=1). It is the opinion of the Board of Directors of Beltway Atheists Inc. that this opposition is completely without merit and we intend to fight this opposition and defend our trademark vigorously. Our trademark was created in 2005, in continuous operation since then, Incorporated in 2008, and received official non-profit status in 2010. If we do not defend our name, it will minimize our effectiveness in the local community, and Beltway Atheists could no longer exist.
As a result of this dispute, Beltway Atheists Inc. has retained the services of a lawyer to defend our trademark.
We’d like to apologize to our donors for any delays caused by this legal issue to the goals and activities of Beltway Atheists and our social arm NOVA Atheists, and thank you for your continued support and contributions.
Rick Wingrove, CEO of Beltway Atheists Inc.