WASHINGTON – The American Freedom Law Center has filed a notice of appeal in the United States Court of Appeals on behalf of political activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who have been refused permission by the government to trademark their “Stop Islamization of America” campaign.
Geller, a WND columnist, and Spencer head the human rights organization called Freedom of Defense Initiative, and they applied to register SIOA as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
The feds told them no.
The USPTO rejected FDI’s application in an “Office Action” based on the following analysis: (1) “Islamisation” means converting to Islam or “to make Islamic;” and (2), “Stop” would be understood to mean that “action must be taken to cease, or put an end to, converting or making people in America conform to Islam.”
Thus, the trademark, according to the “Office Action” ruling, disparaged Muslims and linked them to terrorism.
But SIOA’s stated goal is to “foster and provide an understanding of how to prevent Shariah-based tyranny and Islamist terrorism.”
Shariah is a controversial part of the Islamic law that has come under criticism in the West and worldwide for its repressive rules and cruel and unusual punishments for crimes. Chopping hands off convicted thieves is an example.
But the denial was upheld by the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board, and now the AFLC appealed the USPTO’s rejection.
The organization has filed a detailed brief demonstrating that the term “Islamisation” is not a broadly defined term referring to the conversion of individuals to Islam or culturally spreading Islam. Rather, the group argued that “Islamisation” refers to the specific process of implanting Shariah into society specifically for the purpose of replacing existing law with a “Shariah-compliant Islamic state,” according to FDI.
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise commented: “It is crucial that Americans understand the threat that our nation faces from Shariah-adherent Islam, especially from stealth jihadists who covertly seek to perpetuate Shariah into American society. This trademark does exactly that.
“The TTAB’s opinion upholding the USPTO’s rejection of the mark was forced to bend itself into a pretzel to get around the only evidence in the record. The term ‘Islamisation’ is a political movement – not religious conversion – and it can be traced to the Muslim Brotherhood, where it is found in their own documents advocating ‘civilizational jihad,'” Yerushalmo stated.
“Furthermore, the term is used frequently in professional and academic contexts,” he continued. Therefore, “stopping Islamisation” and linking this doctrine to terrorism does not implicate good, patriotic, loyal Muslims in America; instead, it is an important educational tool that raises awareness about those who seek the demise of our constitutional Republic through a Shariah-based political process.”
At the oral argument before the TTAB, Yerushalmo argued that the only evidence in the record providing an actual meaning of “Islamisation” was the definition provided by his clients.