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Trademarks

A federal appeals court ruled that the registered trademark “Church of the Creator” was a descriptive rather than a “generic” mark that was entitled to legal protection.

Key point 6-05. A church name is a valuable property right that is protected by the legal principle of unfair competition. Protection also is available under federal trademark law.

Church Names

* A federal appeals court ruled that the registered trademark "Church of the Creator" was a descriptive rather than a "generic" mark that was entitled to legal protection against infringing uses by other organizations using the same or a similar name. A church obtained a trademark registration for its name ("Church of the Creator") in 1989. The trademark is for use on "religious instructional and teaching materials namely, newsletters, books, journals, pamphlets, and brochures; photographs, calendars, posters, writing paper and envelopes, note cards; printed adhesive decals." The church has made extensive use of its trademark in connection with seminars, ministerial services; religious consulting ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • January 1, 2003

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