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ARGUED FEBRUARY 20, 2009

Before BAUER, MANION, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

This appeal is from a civil-contempt proceeding alleging violations of an injunction entered more than four decades ago. The case is complicated not just by the passage of time but also because it arises in the context of a religious schism, and the individuals and groups against whom contempt sanctions are sought were not parties to the original litigation. The underlying suit was a trademark and property dispute between the American Bahá’í church-formally known as the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States of America, Inc. (“National Spiritual Assembly”)-and a dissident group incorporated in 1964 under the like-sounding name of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States of America Under the Hereditary Guardianship, Inc. (“Hereditary Guardianship”). In 1966 a district-court judge enjoined the Hereditary Guardianship from using the trademarked names and symbols of the National Spiritual Assembly. Within months the Hereditary Guardianship dissolved, and the dissenting faithful thereafter disagreed among themselves over issues of spiritual leadership and doctrine. This disagreement eventually produced a second schism. Over time the former followers of the Hereditary Guardianship established several new religious groups and a publishing firm, all operating in varying ways in the name of the Bahá’í faith.

 
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