Los Angeles, California, July 30, 2003

We are pleased to report that Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury have achieved a significant victory in their lawsuit against Kim Schreiber-Morrison, Mark Morrison, and their business, Prana Incorporated (the “Morrisons”).  In the lawsuit, Bikram and Rajashree asserted claims against the Morrisons for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, violation of rights of publicity, and other related causes of action, and sought to permanently enjoin the Morrisons from such conduct.  Under a settlement reached on June 12, 2002, the Morrisons voluntarily consented to the following terms:

  • Payment of substantial monetary compensation to Bikram and Rajashree, the amount of which must be kept confidential pursuant to the settlement agreement;
  • To never again teach Bikram’s Basic Yoga System;
  • To never again use or otherwise infringe upon Bikram’s copyrighted works, such as his books, videotape, audiotape, teaching materials and the selection and arrangement of yoga poses in Bikram’s Basic Yoga System;
  • To never again use or otherwise infringe upon Bikram’s trade and service marks, including but not limited to “Bikram Yoga,” “Bikram’s Yoga College of India,” and the picture mark of Bikram in the spine twisting pose;
  • To never again use or otherwise exploit the names or likenesses of Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury for their own commercial purposes;
  • To the entry of a stipulated permanent injunction, issued by the United States District Court of the Central District of California, formally barring the Morrisons from using or otherwise exploiting Bikram and Rajashree’s intellectual property as set forth above; and
  • To provide a signed statement of apology to Bikram and Rajashree.

On June 30, 2003, Federal Judge David O. Carter issued the attached court order permanently enjoining and restraining the Morrisons from infringing on Bikram’s and Rajashree’s intellectual property as set forth above. 

This outcome represents a significant legal victory for Bikram, Rajashree, and the Bikram Yoga community, and fully vindicates Bikram’s conviction in the originality and legal enforceability of Bikram’s Yoga. 

Bikram and Rajashree were represented in the lawsuit
by attorney James K. Lee of the law firm of
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

see a copy of the Court Injunction

 seminars | franchise | home

 

Bikram's Yoga College of India reminds yoga practitioners and aspiring yoga instructors everywhere that this litigation serves as a powerful example of why there is no benefit to learning from uncertified and unlicensed yoga instructors who claim to teach Bikram yoga or "something like it."

The simple facts are these:

  • No one may teach Bikram Yoga classes unless he/she is a certified and licensed Bikram Yoga teacher.

  • No one may teach or certify others to become Bikram Yoga teachers other than Bikram Choudhury.

  • No one may offer obvious, thinly disguised copies of Bikram Yoga and represent to the public that it is "their" yoga.

Yoga students should be particularly cautious of those persons who claim to offer teacher training and/or teacher "certification" in Bikram Yoga, or represent or suggest that their yoga teacher training program "is just as good as Bikram Yoga." Nobody may teach others to become Bikram Yoga teachers other than Bikram Choudhury himself.

This lawsuit is proof that the legal system will vindicate Bikram against those persons who exploit and adulterate Bikram Yoga for their own purposes. These persons are not yoga gurus. These persons are not interested in "sharing" yoga with everyone, as they may self-servingly claim. These persons are only interested in personally profiting from teaching Bikram Yoga. It is for the protection of Bikram Yoga, Bikram Yoga practitioners everywhere and the true spirit of yoga that these imposters must and will be stopped.

 seminars | franchise | home

 

Bikram Obtains Copyright Registration for His Asana Sequence

Los Angeles, California, February 5, 2003: With great pleasure we would like to announce that Bikram recently secured federal copyright registration under 17 U.S.C. Section 410 for his original work of authorship in his asana sequence of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises.  Through registration of this work, the United States Copyright Office acknowledges Bikram’s exclusive right to the distinct series of postures and breathing exercises comprising the sequence and Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class.  

This latest development reinforces the strength and value inherent in the Bikram Yoga system, enhancing opportunities for both certified Bikram Yoga Teachers, and licensed Bikram Yoga studios.

Registration of the asana sequence with the U.S. Copyright Office represents a significant milestone for Bikram in his efforts to formalize the intellectual property rights which encompass the Bikram Yoga style and method.  While some in the yoga community once viewed the prospect of formal legal protection for Bikram’s sequence with skepticism, Bikram’s insight and creativity have once again proven them wrong. 

The asana sequence copyright registration joins Bikram’s growing portfolio of registered copyrights and trademarks that lie at the heart of the proprietary Bikram Yoga system.   Bikram can now easily and effectively enforce these rights.  

Due to the originality of the sequence and the strength of the copyright registration, infringement of the sequence copyright can occur in a number of ways.  In addition to exact copying of the sequence, the copyright prohibits others from creating “derivative” works of the sequence.  Virtually all modifications or additions to the sequence will constitute copyright infringement, including: the unauthorized use of even a small number of consecutive postures; the addition of different postures or breathing exercises to the sequence or portions of the sequence; the teaching or offering of the sequence with or without the Dialogue; or by the addition of extra elements to the sequence, like music.

Bikram will be entitled to receive an award of statutory damages of up to $150,000 per infringement and can also recover his attorneys’ fees from infringers in lawsuits concerning copyright infringement of the sequence.

Please join us in congratulating Bikram for more than three decades of groundbreaking work in bringing to fruition the recognition of the priceless intellectual property assets that are Bikram Yoga.

--Jacob C. Reinbolt
Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP
www.procopio.com