Thou shalt not use Jesus as a trademark

By JACKY TAMEZ

Companies that are requesting to include the name Jesus in their trademark should prepare to be disappointed.

When Michael Julius Anton, leader of a singles ministry in Virginia Beach, went to register “Jesus Surfed” as a trademark for a clothing line, he discovered someone has already beaten him to the name Jesus.

Jesus Jeans is an Italian jean company that registered the word Jesus with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2007, giving the company exclusive rights to sell clothing bearing the name Jesus in America. That means people such as Anton who want to include Jesus in their company name will face opposition from Jesus Jeans. Similar cases have arisen with “Jesus First,” “Sweet Jesus” and “Jesus Couture,” who all abandoned their trademark efforts.

In Matthew 21, Jesus removed people from the temple who were using it as a market place. While the owners of Jesus Jeans are not exactly selling their product in a church, they are making their profit using the name of Christianity’s central figure. The fact that a secular company is keeping ministry-based companies from using the name of Jesus is ridiculous. Even the way Maurizio Vitale, the original owner of Jesus Jeans before his death, thought of the name was outrageous.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Vitale was visiting New York City when he came across a theater marquee for “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“He decided Jesus could be used in a nonreligious context by representing the will to rebel and refusal to conform,” said Domenico Sindico, general counsel for intellectual property at BasicNet Spa that owns Jesus Jeans.

However, this trademark does not stop churches from printing a few t-shirts with Jesus’ name on them. The company’s main concern is when companies try to commercialize their products. Jesus Jeans does not want to proclaim the name of Jesus, yet it wants to stop other companies from doing so.

Jesus, whether it is the word or image, is not meant to be owned by a company for commercial use. Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day so that we can have eternal life, not so that a company could exploit His name.

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