Thursday, 10 November 2005
CBS reports that CBS anchor Bruce Rheins and his wife, Dawn Westlake, have applied to the USPTO to register JESUS JUICE as a trade mark for wines. “Jesus Juice” is the term that the singer Michael Jackson was said to use for wine during the recent child molestation case against him and, indeed, the figurative element that accompanies the word element is a gentleman in a cruciform position wearing a loincloth, fedora, penny-loafers and a single rhinestone glove. The application has led to objections from Michael Jackson’s lawyers. Rheins and Westlake have countered that they never intended to sell wine under the mark. Instead, they applied for it for the purposes of distributing wine to their friends, and to stop others from obtaining the mark, leading to a situation where other peoples’ beverages could be mistaken for their own.
The IPKat reckons that, if the couple really only intended for the mark to be used on goods distributed to their friends, it would be unlikely that the mark would be registered or, if it was registered, stay on the register for long. The case is intriguing though. The IPKat is familiar with allegations that marks which appropriate the names of celebrities may be considered to be registered in bad faith or to be immoral. However, he’s not convinced that it’s desirable that celebrities should be able to control other elements which have become associated with them on these grounds, particularly where these elements have come to fame in insalubrious circumstances.
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