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Call to Action: Protect Religious Freedom

Help the Heathen community defend their religious freedom!

Updated for clarity on 12/8/2020

Our Heathen identity is in danger from invasive trademarking of our religious terms. This is not the first time this has happened. Last year, an individual successfully trademarked ‘HEATHEN’ for commercial gain, barring Heathens from using our own identity marker. Now, ‘Forn Sidr’ is in danger of being trademarked in the US for similar purposes and we need your help to protect it.

In June of 2019, Christopher Fragassi-Bjornson – founder of the website/company NORSKK – filed to trademark ‘Forn Sidr’ for commercial use in the US. The NORSKK website has gained notoriety for its inflammatory blog which publishes polarizing opinion pieces. Despite rejecting Heathenry as a religious identity himself, Fragassi-Bjornson wants to own the Forn Sidr name in multiple countries.

Bjornson already trademarked it in Norway and now he wants to own it in the US!

Shortly after launching our nonprofit church in April of 2019, Bjornson contacted us with false claims that he owned our religious identity and we couldn’t use ‘Forn Sidr’. Since then NORSKK has targeted us with threats, harassments, and defamation to our name, character, and operations demanding that we relinquish our Forn Sidr identity; a Forn Sidr lineage that spans several centuries through the Nordtorp line. When we would not respond to intimidation, he then filed a Trademark for ‘Forn Sidr’ in the US.

Bjornson made it clear to us through multiple correspondences that he wants complete control over the identity of ‘Forn Sidr’ and to legally keep Heathens from using it unless they adhere to his specific fundamentalist creeds and requirements (which he lays out on his various websites). If his trademark passes, he plans to sue Heathens for using the term ‘Forn Sidr.’

Heathens cannot allow this to happen!

Our legal representation has confidently assured us that we can protect our community and our religious liberty. ‘Forn Sidr’ should never belong to one person or group and we are ready to defend the religious freedoms of all Heathens, but we need your help to succeed!

By donating $100, $50, $20, $10, or even $5, you can help defend our right to religious freedom. We need $2,500 for legal retainer fees to get started by the deadline of December 18th. Boost awareness of this issue by sharing this campaign on social media, no matter how small the platform. Every share, every dollar, and every bit of effort helps.

WE ARE HEATHENS and WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!

$2,500 – Minimum needed for legal retainer

$3,500 – Estimated total amount needed

Forn Sidr of America is a licensed 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Church. All donations made to this fund will go directly to pay legal fees for the challenge of trademark over ‘Forn Sidr.’ No donations will be used for organizational projects, funding, personal payments, etc.

Fundraiser FAQs

What will my donation be used for?

Your donation will go towards the legal fees required to challenge Christopher Fragassi-Bjornsen’s filing of trademark over ‘Forn Sidr’ which is currently in conflict with our trademark filing over ‘Forn Sidr of America’.

Are you trying to trademark ‘Forn Sidr’ instead?

Absolutely not! We don’t believe anyone should own the name of a religion, denomination, or spiritual belief. We’ve filed for a trademark only over the legal name of our organization, ‘Forn Sidr of America’ after we realized that Bjornson was trying to own the trademark for Forn Sidr in multiple countries.

How will challenging this trademark protect ‘Forn Sidr’ from someone trying this in the future?

If the US Patent Office rules in favor of Forn Sidr of America’s mark over our organizational name, ‘Forn Sidr’ cannot be trademarked by anyone while we retain ownership over our name. This is because any attempted filing of a ‘Forn Sidr’ trademark would be in conflict with the name of our organization and would be dismissed.

What assurance do you have that you will win this legal challenge?

There are numerous legal disqualifiers for Bjornson’s trademark of ‘Forn Sidr’ such as; Its status as a religious identity, our date of priority, and Bjornson’s intention to use the mark to disseminate Hate speech, just to name a few. However, the trademark will inevitably pass unless we act as a challenger to raise these objections.

Many US Heathens don’t identify under ‘Forn Sidr’ so why is this an issue affecting all Heathens?

As Heathenry becomes more popular in media and modern culture, we are seeing increased commercial use of our terms, icons, and symbolism which has led to trademarking religious staples like the word ‘HEATHEN’. Where does it end? We must take a stand for the protection of our Heathen identity, and defend against the aggressive trademarking of our culture.

‘Forn Sidr’ is the oldest surviving name for Norse polytheism. ‘Forn Sidr’ and its modern translations are still used in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and other countries worldwide as the name for these beliefs. Attempting to trademark it would be like someone trying to trademark ‘Islam’ or ‘Christianity’.

What would you do with excess donations if more than $2500 is raised?

$2500 is the bare minimum retainer fee for our lawyer to file the challenge to the trademark over ‘Forn Sidr’. Additional monies raised will be used to cover any runoff legal fees. We estimate the legal fees for this trademark dispute not to exceed $3500. If the financial support is overwhelming, we will put the donations raised in a restricted fund that will only be used to challenge other exploitive trademarks on behalf of the Heathen community.

Who and what is NORSKK?

NORSKK is a Canadian company/website owned by Christopher Fragassi-Bjornson that markets Viking-themed grooming supplies, textiles, cosmetics, and workshops. NORSKK has several other websites and companies associated under it, including one by the name of Forn Sidr, where he disseminates his opinions on Heathen practice, despite not identifying as Heathen himself.

Fragassi-Bjornson has a history of fraud allegations and lawsuits associated with his various businesses. You can read the articles on Fragassi-Bjornson by following these links to the National Post, the Toronto Sun, and the international Dagbladet.

NORSKK has an article accusing Forn Sidr of America of fraud, what is your response to this?

After we launched in April of 2019, Fragassi-Bjornsen attempted to intimidate and threaten us into dissolving our organization. When this didn’t work, his company sent a Cease and Desist letter that our legal counsel deemed as indefensible. At the time he had no legal trademark filed with the USPTO.

When neither of these intimidation tactics worked, Fragassi-Bjornson wrote several defamatory articles about our organization with the unfounded allegations below:

That Forn Sidr of America was previously known by Shieldwall of North America and stole the name ‘Forn Sidr’ from Norwegian nationals.

Forn Sidr of America was never registered under any other name. Shieldwall of North America was a social media group on Facebook. The facilitators of that Facebook group helped build the church organization that is Forn Sidr of America.

The name ‘Forn Sidr’ came from the Norse Eddas. Forn Sidr/Sed is the name of a religion that is practiced in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and many other countries and tens of thousands of people who identify under the broader term ’Heathen.’

That Forn Sidr of American engages in discrimination and violent extremism against anyone not embracing our views.

We’ve never promoted violence and we actively educate on the dangers of religious fundamentalism. Forn Sidr of America’s values and registered Bylaws maintain the inherent value of every person. Our organization and its team are wholly focused on building a Church that can serve our community. We have zero interest in antagonizing people of different beliefs, Heathen or otherwise.

That the directors are using ‘Fake Names.’

Our organization was registered with the legal names of all of our officers. The ‘fake names’ that are being referred to here are our religious names that we are known by within our spiritual community, which is a common practice in history of the Pagan Community. Our legal names appear on all official state documents, and can be found in public records. Since it is our common-use names that are recognized in our community, we use those when interacting within that environment.

That our social media accounts were suspended for fraud.

Fragassi-Bjornson maliciously targeted our organization’s online operations and fundraising by fraudulently reporting our accounts for trademark infringement. Our accounts were restored when he could not produce evidence to support his claims.

That NORSKK legally seized funds from Forn Sidr of America.

All donations and funds that Forn Sidr of America has received are secure and have never been seized or lost. We’re also not aware of any attempt by NORSKK to have funds legally seized or frozen. We are engaged in a trademark challenge, but Forn Sidr of America has never been involved in any kind of litigation nor ever been issued a lawsuit.

We are happy to answer any further questions regarding this fundraising campaign and our trademark dispute. Please direct questions to info@fornsidrofamerica.org.

November 25th, 2020|Updates|

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