Jesus Jeans, owned by Turin-based BasicNet S.p.A., has held the trademark for the word “Jesus” for use on clothing and sportswear since 2007—and it has been fighting off would-be trademark infringers ever since.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “more than a dozen other startup clothing lines” have felt the wrath of Jesus Jeans, including “Sweet Jesus” and “Jesus Couture.”
The most recent battle over “Jesus” came about when Michael Julius Anton of Virginia Beach came up with the name “Jesus Surfed,” inspired by the idea that Jesus would be a surfer if he lived in the present day. He started selling “Jesus Surfed” apparel, but encountered opposition from Jesus Jeans when he tried to register the trademark.
Interestingly, though, Jesus Jeans does have a soft spot for actual religious organizations.
“If somebody—small church or even a big church—wants to use ‘Jesus’ for printing a few T-shirts, we don’t care,” Domenico Sindico, general counsel for intellectual property at BasicNet told the Wall Street Journal.
Jesus Jeans does not, of course, have a trademark on the image of Jesus Christ, but even the request to trademark the word “Jesus” has fallen flat in many intellectual property offices around the world. Applications have been denied in Turkey, China, Switzerland, Australia, Cuba, and other countries.
Anton has said he is ready to fight for his right to sell Jesus Surfed apparel, so stay tuned.
What do you think of trademarking “Jesus?”