Enjoy the read, TCB360 Smart Business Network listeners – LaTanya Junior, Your Brand Friend
The Lord works in mysterious ways. Some American apparel manufacturers attempts to start up clothing lines that contain the name “Jesus” have been thwarted by the Italian maker of Jesus Jeans, which trademarked its name in the U.S. back in 2007.
Jesus Jeans, which is apparently considering making an eventual marketing push in the States, is more than happy to have its legal team send cease-and-desist letters to anybody who is trying to make money selling pretty much any type of clothing with the Jesus name on it.
The founder of Jesus Surfed, Michael Julius Anton, is ready to face off legally against Jesus Jeans, a fight that plenty of other manufacturers, such as "Jesus First," "Sweet Jesus," and "Jesus Couture," among others, are willing to join in, the Wall Street Journal reports. One manufacturer, “Jesus Up,” is still trying to work out an agreement. "How anyone can claim the name Jesus for themselves and put a trademark on it is beyond me," said Jesus Up founder Jeff Lamont, who also told the Journal that the company name had come to him in a message from God.
Wherever the message came from, Lamont was late to the game on the trademarking front. Jesus Jeans had been trying to trademark its name in the States since 1999 and finally succeeded in 2007. It has still been rejected in plenty of other countries, though such as Germany, Switzerland, China, Hungary and Ireland. However, such countries as Austria, Belgium, France, Spain and the Netherlands have allowed the trademark. The European Union gave it the “Jesus” community trademark, which is good across the entire Union.
The company tells the Journal that it is only interested in going after businesses: "If somebody—small church or even a big church—wants to use 'Jesus' for printing a few T-shirts, we don't care," said Domenico Sindico, the general counsel for intellectual property at BasicNet SpA, a publicly traded company that owns Jesus Jeans.
While BasicNet has the law on its side, some Jesus lovers surely think the company’s decision makers will eventually be sent to hotter climates when they reach the pearly gates. These kinds of feelings have existed since the company got started in the early 1970s and went with an ad campaign that consisted of an image of a woman’s derriere clad in cutoff shorts and the text, "He who loves me follows me,” in Italian. The Vatican was not amused.
The company was first inspired, the Journal notes, when original owner Maurizio Vitale was in New York City in 1970 and saw a poster for the original Broadway production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” So blame Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice if you want.