Dearest Naked Yogis:
Below is the letter that a beloved entourage of naked yoga enthusiasts who are also lawyers helped me craft. Big thanks to lawyer/yogis Lloyd, Eric, Lisa, Jen, Cliff and the dozen other law enthusiasts who offered their support as well as everyone who as shared their thoughts, emails and humor around the situation. Your feedback is our life blood and what keeps this Alliance going. Though we get to keep our name, the entire ordeal has raised larger questions of naked yoga being pushed out of main stream yoga and being labeled as the black sheep or the red headed stepchild. The next step feels like addressing the core issue of why Yoga Alliance does not want to be associated with naked yoga as this starts to become both a civil and human rights issues.
Stay tuned for the letter to Yoga Alliance that will follow. I will be posting it here for feedback.
LETTER TO PAT JENNINGS, lawyer for YOGA ALLIANCE:
“Dear Mr. Jennings,
I am in receipt of your letter of March 16, 2015 (Ref. 25741-000012). A closer examination of the screen shots you provided will reveal that I never use the words “Yoga Alliance” alone just as your client never uses them preceded by the word “Naked.” Naked Yoga Alliance is a clearly distinct entity – indeed strikingly so – and we do not believe Naked Yoga Alliance constitutes a violation of trademark. None of my hundreds of communications in relation to the organization has suggested such a confusion.
Moreover, Naked Yoga Alliance was not created for commercial purposes. It does not create confusion in the marketplace, or at least any more confusion. A brief search of the Internet reveals a plethora of organizations that include the two words “yoga alliance.” Your client even maintains a site with a list of organizations that include those two words and are not affiliated with your client. (https://www.yogaalliance.org/Learn/Article_Archive/Not_All_YAs_Are_The_Same)
Yoga Alliance is Not Affiliated with Other “Yoga Alliances”
Yoga Alliance and Yoga Alliance Registry are operated and maintained by Yoga Alliance staff in the U.S. Yoga Alliance is not affiliated or connected with any of the following entities:
- The Canadian Yoga Alliance
- European Yoga Alliance
- Indian Yoga Alliance
- Spiritual Yoga Alliance
- World Yoga Alliance
- Yoga Alliance Argentina
- Yoga Alliance Asia Pacific/Southeast Asia
- Yoga Alliance Asia
- Yoga Alliance Australia
- Yoga Alliance of Chile
- Yoga Alliance International
- Yoga Alliance UK
Here are some more: World Real Yoga Alliance, Hot Yoga Alliance, Canadian Yoga Alliance and International Yoga Alliance for Ethics. I doubt that one more would have any impact on the distinctiveness of your client’s mark. May I suggest your client simply include Naked Yoga Alliance on the list? I have invested a great deal of money, time and effort in forming Naked Yoga Alliance as a distinct and independent entity. I am not inclined to change the name. I will, however, be happy to include on my website a disclaimer that Naked Yoga Alliance is not affiliated with Yoga Alliance.
“Dear Ms. Phoenix,
Yoga Alliance would appreciate it if you would please put a disclaimer on your Web site indicating that Naked Yoga Alliance is not affiliated with Yoga Alliance.
Please let me know if you have any questions regarding this request.
Dearest Naked Yogis,
I received what was at first a startling email yesterday from a lawyer from a firm with way to many names in the title. Patrick Jennings of Pillsbury Winthrop, Shaw, Pitman LLP wrote to me informing me that the not-for-profit organization Yoga Alliance was very upset that I have used Naked Yoga Alliance in my blog leading or as they imply mis-leading people to believe I have affiliations with the organization. In their requests that I cease and desist any and all use of the phrase Yoga Alliance from my website, Peter also tells me that among other things I need to destroy anything I have printed with those words on them including articles of clothing.
Hello Patrick, we don’t wear clothing. We’re naked.
I was looking over the Yoga Alliance website and was reminded of their motto “Many Paths, One Yoga Alliance.” Many Paths. Strangely they exclude naked yoga as being a valid path. The letter says “Yoga Alliance does not wish to be associated with naked yoga…”
Hence our need for our own Alliance. Our own NAKED Yoga Alliance.
I presently have a team of naked yoga lawyers who have formed their own alliance who are drafting a response.
Read Peter’s letter to me here: Naked Yoga Alliance Letter