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Take Care When Naming Your Church

Church names are protectable under trademark law.

Key point 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.

A federal court in Tennessee ruled that the "Seventh-day Adventist" registered trademark had not been lost by becoming generic, and therefore the Seventh-day Adventist Church could enjoin a dissident pastor from using the words "Seventh-day Adventist" in his church's name. The General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists ("General Conference") is an unincorporated association that represents the interests of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Organized in 1863, it constitutes the official organization of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The church grew out of several congregations that believed that Christ's Second Advent was imminent and that the Sabbath should be observed on the seventh day of the week. None of these ...

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Posted:
  • March 1, 2009

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