Claims and Facts
page is part
of the historical background relating to "What Is an
Osho?", a slick, sannyas-paradigm-shifting policy paper written by
and circulated in 1998. A deconstruction of Amrito's paper is presented
on this site, introduced here. A
large subset of the
background addresses various
aspects of OIF's claimed right
to control Osho's legacy, particularly regarding the legal muscle of
trademark. This page debunks
an outrageous propaganda piece issued by OIF via Pune proxies in the
wake of losing a trademark decsion in the US. It is sourced from Osho
Friends International. For
more legal pages, see OFI or Legal
the recent decision in the US about the use of OSHO and His
meditations, first the Resort put out a press release and then Vatayana
sent out a message from Global Connections. (0IF Zürich, the entity
involved in the case, has not commented [directly].)
[The "recent decision" referred to above was a judgment
issued in Jan 2009
from the US Trademark Trial and Appellate Board (TTAB) in a case
brought by OFI to contest OIF's trademarking of Osho. The case took
eight years to resolve. OFI
has links to M$ Word and pdf versions of
this decision plus a link to the relevant US gov't
website. An Indian Intellectual Property lawyer who took an interest in
the case has made more accessible by posting key parts of it to an Indian
Intellectual Property Law blog. That blog post is reposted here.]
Virtually everything in the two messages out of Pune is untrue, a sad
on what has been happening in the community. It brings to mind OSHO’s
warnings about the hypnotic effect of false statements:
Hitler wrote in his autobiography ‘Mein Kampf’ that if you go on
repeating a lie it becomes real. Repetition is the key. And he should
know. He practised it. He is not simply asserting something
theoretical, he practised it the whole of his life. He uttered lies,
absolutely absurd lies, but one thing he insisted on -- he went on
repeating. When you go on repeating some lie again and again and again
it starts becoming real, because the mind starts getting hypnotised by
is the method of hypnosis. Repeat anything and it becomes engraved in
your being -- that’s how we are deluded in life.
~ from The
Art of Dying, Ch 7
Here is a brief overview of what’s being claimed and the real facts.
"This is being offered in the hope that truth can act like a breath of
fresh air to free up the space for OSHO to flower in a dazzling variety
of ways around the world.
Claim: Since the 1970s OSHO’s
name and meditation techniques have been trademarked.
Fact: OSHO’s meditation
techniques have never been trademarked. (See His quote about that
below.) In the late 1970s a couple of OSHO groups attempted to register
trademarks for "Rajneesh" for their own specific goods and services,
but those trademarks were never used and there’s no evidence OSHO even
knew about them. No one before OIF ZÜRICH has ever attempted to use a
trademark to monopolize the use of OSHO’s name or control OSHO centers.
No one ever assigned legal rights in OSHO’s name to OIF ZÜRICH.
don’t understand what meditation is. It is nobody’s belonging,
possession. You cannot have any copyright. Perhaps if your country
gives you trademarks and copyrights on things like meditation, then it
will be good to have a copyright on stupidity. That will help the whole
World to be relieved... Only you will be stupid and nobody else can be
stupid; it will be illegal.
~ from Om Shantih Shantih Shantih, Ch 26, q 1
Claim: OIF ZÜRICH trademarked
OSHO when OSHO changed His name.
Fact: OIF ZÜRICH could not have
"trademarked" the name OSHO when OSHO changed His name in 1989 unless
OIF ZÜRICH owned exclusive rights in the name OSHO at that time, which
it did not. If OSHO had wanted to, He could have assigned the rights in
his new name "OSHO" to OIF ZÜRICH or some other person or group to use
as a trademark, but OSHO chose not to assign the name to anyone.
Instead, OSHO asked all the people who had been using His personal
name, Rajneesh, in their work, to use OSHO instead. This is a use
exactly opposite to a trademark use.
Claim: In particular,
trademark law allows the Foundation to act against people who misuse
the name OSHO. For example, anyone changing any of the OSHO
meditations, and still presenting them as "OSHO" meditations, can be
stopped from putting the title "OSHO" on the changed meditation.
Fact: OIF Zürich has not been
able to do this till now and will not be able to do this legally.
OSHO’s meditation techniques have been in the public domain since the
1960s. This is because OSHO openly encouraged people to take the
techniques and teach them to others without exercising any control over
them. OSHO never assigned ownership in the techniques to anyone else.
No entity, including OIF ZÜRICH, can now take the meditation techniques
out of the public domain and claim to own or control them. A trademark
registration would not give OIF ZÜRICH control over the meditations.
The US Trademark office has already pointed out to OIF ZÜRICH that it
does not own the meditation techniques that have been widely used for
Claim: Trademarks allow OIF
ZÜRICH to "protect" OSHO by controlling claims people make about OSHO,
such as false claims that He created certain meditations or did artwork.
Fact: Trademarks have
absolutely nothing to do with historical people. Even if a trademark is
the same as the name of a historical person (George Washington.
Lincoln. etc.). If people make false claims about the person OSHO, His
estate might be able to take some action, but a trademark holder for
"OSHO" would have no legal grounds to bring an action. Someone selling
a fake piece of artwork would be guilty of fraud.
Claim: Trademarks allow OIF
ZÜRICH to prevent people from using OSHO as a trademark for other goods
and services like hamburgers, brothels, tissue, etc.
Fact: OIF Zürich has not been
able to do this, even with Trademarks. Trademark law allows the same
trademark to be used for goods that won’t be confused by the public.
For example, two companies couldn’t use the same trademark for computer
accessories and computer programs, because the public would confuse
them. Two companies probably could use the same trademarks for cars and
stuffed animals, or some other products that the public wouldn’t
There is already a trademark for OSHO in the US for a Japanese
restaurant. Internationally there’s a brand of OSHO bicycles. OSHO is a
Japanese word that has several different meanings. No one who had a
trademark for OSHO as related to the teachings of OSHO could prevent
anyone else from having trademarks of OSHO for some other kind of goods
Claim: OSHO’s name is protected
in 40 countries.
Fact: OIF ZÜRICH, the
entity claiming tademarks in the US has also registered trademarks in
Switzerland, the EU, Canada and Australia. A trademark registration is
not the same thing as trademark ownership. To register a trademark the
applicant has to swear it owns the trademark and pay the fee. No
evidence of ownership is required. If the trademark claim is challenged
by anyone, or if the trademark claimant tries to enforce it, then the
claimant will have to prove ownership. In the US OIF ZÜRICH failed to
prove a trademark existed at all.
Claim: The inner circle is
involved in trademark claims.
Fact: The inner circle was set
up by OSHO as an advisory group with no legal standing or power. OSHO
could have had the inner circle set up as a charitable trust, and He
could have transferred ownership of His rights in His name and His work
to it, but OSHO chose not to do any of those things.
The original members that Osho appointed, to the Inner Circle have long
The inner circle is also not directly concerned in any trademark
claims. Exclusive rights to use "OSHO" and to control how other people
doing OSHO’s work use "OSHO" is being claimed by OIF ZÜRICH, a small
Zürich-based group. This is a small group of men with a board including
the following: Jayesh, Amrito, Yogendra, Pramod, and Mukesh. The inner
circle has no legal control over this group.
Claim: There has been a
copyright of OSHO’s work since the 1970s that is registered and
protected by international treaties.
Fact: The documents on file
with the US Library of Congress show that the document purportedly
signed by OSHO in the 1970s (no original is available) was only a
conditional license of publishing rights for eight early OSHO books.
There is no document known where OSHO assigns His copyrights to anyone
International treaties on copyrights only apply when a copyright
actually exists. OIF ZÜRICH has never produced any document showing it
received copyrights from OSHO.
Claim: OIF ZÜRICH was selected
by OSHO to protect His work/name, etc.
Fact: OSHO never selected or
assigned anything to OIF ZÜRICH. There’s not even any reliable evidence
that OSHO knew OIF ZÜRICH existed. OIF ZÜRICH was a Rajneesh Foundation
Europe set up in 1984. OIF ZÜRICH has always been a paper corporation
without an office (it has a mail drop and answering service in Zürich)
that has never run any OSHO-related activities like meditations. OIF
ZÜRICH claims to own copyrights and trademarks and seeks to license
both of those for profit. In the US trademark case OIF ZÜRICH claimed
it has the right to take all profits from all work related to OSHO,
including center activities.
"OIF ZÜRICH and its predecessors have received (and in the future will
continue to receive) all benefits, including all money and all
goodwill, resulting from their own and their licensees’ use of the OSHO
trademarks." (OSHO International Foundation’s Memoranda of Law in
Opposition to Petitioners Motion for Summary Judgment. p.4)
Claim: Trademarks for OSHO are
for the purpose of protecting and spreading OSHO’s work.
Fact: The only effect
trademarks for could possibly have would be to restrict and control the
work of people who are actually engaged in OSHO’s work (centers,
sessions, groups, books, etc.). They can not protect or spread His
work. OIF Zürich has been known to force closure of websites spreading
Osho’s work, threatening Osho centres, stopping publishing work of
We can agree with GC, at least, that it’s time for us all to enjoy the
spread of OSHO’s work in as many diverse ways as there are individual
successors of OSHO. Let the wildfire burn!
the people who are around me.... It is not an established religion. I
had started alone, and then people started coming and became, fellow
travelers; it became a big caravan. But their love gives me the
authority. I don’t have any power over them, but their love gives me
I would not like them to become an organized religion because that is
death of the very search for in which they had come to me. So now it is
simply an open movement of religiousness, with no catechism, with no
church, with no clergy, with no holy hook: an experiment totally new to
the whole history of man.
And because they love me, they listen to me. It is still up to them: it
they want to organize something they can, but not around me. I am
absolutely free. If they want to organize something they can go to hell
and do whatever they want, but 1 am not going to allow anything to be
organized around me.
~ from The
Last Testament, Vol 3, Ch 25
Nobody is my follower. Nobody is going to be my successor. Each
my representative. When I am dead, you all - individually - will have
represent me to the world. There is not going to be any pope. There is
not going to be any shankaracharya. Each sannyasin, in his own
capacity, has to represent me.
This has never happened but it is
going to happen! You are all my successors.
When I am dead, that simply means I
have left this body and entered all the bodies of my people.
I will be within you.
I will be part of you.
~ from From
Death to Deathlessness, Ch 25
Wouldn’t it be great if OIF ZÜRICH would drop its claim to control a
non-existent OSHO organization and simply enjoy the wonder of the
diversity around OSHO’s work?
can see gathered around me here all kinds of people from all countries,
all races-but we are not a new religion. I am not trying to create one
religion; we are just creating a quality: religiousness,
meditativeness, prayerfulness, trust, gratitude towards existence. Yes,
on these things humanity can become a great brotherhood, but about
details many things are bound to remain different and they should
remain different. There is no reason to destroy this variety. It will
be like when you love roses, so you start growing only roses.
~ from Come, Come, Yet Again Come, Ch 10, q2
But when religion is alive and breathing - that’s what I mean by
religiousness then you are possessed by it, but you cannot possess it.
You cannot possess a Buddha or a Lao Tzu or a Zarathustra. You cannot
possess Bahauddin, Jalaluddin, al-Hillaj Mansoor.. no, that is not
possible. These are people who have known the ultimate freedom - how
you possess them? They cannot fulfill your expectations, they cannot
move according to you; they will have their own way. If it suits you,
you have to be with them. You will not be able to force them to be with
you: there is no way possible.
~ from Come, Come, Yet Again Come, Ch 13, q1