Trademark dispute adds to Golden Temple's legal issues

by Gursant Singh ⌂ @, Yuba City California USA, Saturday, February 20, 2010, 12:05 (4562 days ago) @ Gursant Singh
edited by Gursant Singh, Thursday, April 01, 2010, 05:57

Please read an Excerpt below taken from

"Sikhism and Tantric Yoga"
by Dr. Trilochan Singh (Link to entire book)

The Name of Golden Temple and its Murals

"In England last year a firm advertised some blue jeans as Jesus Jeans. The whole religious world of England rose in one protest and stopped the manufacture of these jeans. The word Golden Temple has become an instrument of commercial affairs of Yogi Bhajan He has now even named shoe stores as Golden Temple. I was given a "Wha Guru Chew.""

"Yogi Bhajan is using the sacred Sikh mantras and the sacred name of Guru Ram Das as a mantle for his Tantric Sex Yoga which will inevitably lead to mental and physical debauchery of those who take his brand of Sikhism contaminated by crazy sex-energizing asanas seriously."

Trademark dispute adds to company’s legal issues
By Sherri Buri McDonald

The Register-Guard

Appeared in print: Saturday, Feb 20, 2010 see link for entire article


Legal issues continue to mount for Golden Temple, a successful natural tea and cereal producer based in Eugene.

The widow of the late Yogi Bhajan, founder of the Sikh community in Eugene, whose believers built Golden Temple, has sued the company for trademark infringement in U.S. District Court in California.

The lawsuit, filed on Feb. 5 by Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Puri, alleges that Golden Temple does not own the “Yogi” brand for its tea and cereal, and it must pay royalties to continue to use the “Yogi” trademark.

“We disagree,” said Golden Temple’s attorney, Lewis Horowitz, “and we’ll be filing court documents that articulate the basis for our disagreement.”

On Thursday, Golden Temple announced that it is in discussions to sell its cereal business, which includes its Peace and Sweet Home brands, its Yogi brand cereals launched last year, as well as its bulk granola and the private-label products it makes for a variety of customers.

The trademark dispute could complicate and delay a potential sale.

“I’d be shocked that a buyer would want to go through with this transaction with a cloud over its marks,” said Surjit Soni, the attorney representing Yogi Bhajan’s widow, who lives in Los Angeles.

A trademark dispute “can delay that kind of transaction, certainly, because there’s unknown risk,” said Mike Heilbronner, a Portland attorney specializing in trademark law, who is not involved in the Golden Temple case.

“Or the companies might try to quantify the risk, which could reduce the value of the transaction by the quantification of the risk,” he said.

The trademark dispute comes on top of a lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court in which religious leaders of the Sikh community are suing business leaders, including Golden Temple CEO Kartar Khalsa, over ownership and control of Golden Temple, as well as other Sikh businesses and organizations.

In the trademark lawsuit, Yogi Bhajan’s widow alleges that Golden Temple must pay royalties under a license to use the name and likeness of her husband and “Yogi” trademarks.

Yogi Bhajan brought his brand of Sikhism, which emphasizes Kundalini yoga, to the United States in the late 1960s. After his classes, he served a spiced tea, which his students called “Yogi Tea.”

For at least 12 years, Golden Temple used Yogi Bhajan’s image on its packaging, its Web site and marketing materials, stating that “the Yogi behind Yogi Tea is Yogi Bhajan,” the lawsuit said.

Soni said the trademark license is longstanding, dating to the mid-1970s, and it was extended for 75 years in 2004.

“Yogi Bhajan created this license for the purposes of providing support for Bibiji and his family and some of his trusted assistants,” Soni said.

After Yogi Bhajan died in 2004, his widow was successor to 50 percent of the rights to and income stream from the license, Soni said. The other 50 percent was “to support some of his administrative assistants who have served him well over the years,” Soni said.

In late 2008, Golden Temple said that it had stopped using the name and likeness of Yogi Bhajan and ceased paying royalties under the license, the lawsuit said.

Sherri Buri McDonald can be reached at or 541-338-2367.

Source: Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Puri vs. Golden Temple of Oregon LLC

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