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Tuesday, 5 August 2003

HEAVENS ABOVE

In a couple of recent Trade Mark Registry decisions (here and here) the examiner has refused to register the word JESUS as a trade mark for various classes of goods (none of which were inherently controversial) because he considered its use as a trade mark to be contrary to public policy or the accepted principles of morality under s.3(3)(a) of the Trade Marks Act. Although there were a few people in the UK whose surname was JESUS and in some other countries it is a popular forename, in the UK only a small minority would view it as an ordinary surname or forename. Instead, its primary significance in the UK, where a substantial number of people believe in the Christian faith, are taught the subject in schools and worship in Church, was as the name of the religious figure and as such its use as a trade mark would cause offence that went beyond mere distaste. That offence was caused by the resultant undermining of “an accepted social and religious value” to a significant extent because many believe that JESUS is the name of JESUS CHRIST who is believed by Christians to be the Son of God and as such, whose name should not be debased by use as a trade mark for the applied for goods.

Little-known fact: there are 27 people with the surname JESUS in the London Telephone Directory



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