In 1973, Italian Jesus Jeans ad with the line “he who loves me follows me”….
The Patent Office registrar said the name would cause greater offence than mere distaste to a significant section of the general public, based on the view of a “right thinking member of the public”.
He said the name was was “contrary to public policy or to accepted principles of morality”.
However, in 1997 the Patent Office approved French Connection’s application to register FCUK as a brand.
In the case of Jesus Jeans, the Patent Office argued that the name Jesus would be “debased” if it were used to sell jeans and other products offered by the company such as soap, scent and shoes.
The ruling said the value of the name lay in the belief of Christians that Jesus is the Son of God, and although other religions were practised in the UK, most British people would associated only this meaning to the word.
The company that owns the brand, Basic Trademark, argued that the name Jesus is a popular name and that there was a difference between offence that amounted to distaste, and that of offence that would cause outrage or attract censure by undermining religious values.
Lawyers acting for Basic Trademark, WH Beck Greener & Co, told The Times: “Moral grounds should only be raised where there is a question of public order. The use of the word ‘Jesus’ as a mark is not likely to inflame public disorder.”
The brand has successfully registered the name Jesus in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Austria, France, Italy, and Spain, but its rejection in the UK is not the first.