An Italian jeans manufacturer that owns the trademark on the name “Jesus” in the United States is cracking their “whip” at apparel companies that attempt to use the name in their brands.
FOX News reports that the company, which is called Jesus Jeans, was given exclusive rights to the word “Jesus” within the United Stated by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2007.
Since then, Jesus Jeans has cracked down on Jesus-themed apparel, with over a dozen legal claims against start-up clothing lines which it claims appropriated “Jesus” without the company’s approval.
Jesus Jeans only has a trademark on the word Jesus, not the image.
Michael Julius Anton, of Virginia Beach, VA, developed a clothing line — “Jesus Surfed” — that he thought would be a hit among locals, but when he attempted to register the trademark he discovered that Jesus Jeans had beat him to the punch.
Prior to taking on “Jesus Surfed”, the Italian jeans company objected to other trademark attempts, such as “Jesus First,” “Sweet Jesus,” and “Jesus Couture,” which quickly dropped their efforts to trademark. Jesus Jeans has, in some cases, warned that a lawsuit could develop if others continued to press for a trademark containing the word Jesus.
According to The Wall Street Journal, attorneys for the company have said that they are only trying to protect the company’s brand.
Domenico Sindico, general counsel for the company that owns Jesus Jeans, said, “If somebody—small church or even a big church—wants to use ‘Jesus’ for printing a few T-shirts, we don’t care … [but when companies, like Jesus Surfed attempt commercialization] that’s a concern.”
The Jesus Jeans trademark only applies to apparel in general, including jackets, vests, shirt, pants, and belts.
Jesus Jeans is planning to broaden its US distribution following a relaunch of the brand in Italy. The company’s marketing campaign heavily ties its brand with ideas of “solidarity” and a “peaceful society,” using slogans like “Thou shalt not have any other jeans but me” and “He who loves me follows me.”