Tyler Perry is a very religious man who frequently reminds his fans to believe in Jesus so that God will make your enemy your foot stool. As both a religious man and an entrepreneur, it was perhaps inevitable that he’d seek to trademark “What Would Jesus Do,” since “in the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost” was already public domain. Perry recently won his court battle to do just that, besting a former contestant on Vh-1’s ‘I Want To Work For Diddy’ he’d been battling for the phrase since 2008. Hallelujer! The Lord works in idiotic ways.
The other contestant in this bout was Kimberly Kearney, who was once known as “Poprah” on the VH1 series, I Want to Work for Diddy.
In May 2008, Perry registered the mark in the category of entertainment services, mentioning in his filing live concerts, a TV program and motion pictures. He included a disclaimer that he wasn’t attempting ownership on the exclusive right to use “Jesus” apart from “What Would Jesus Do.”
However, months earlier, Kearney had already filed for that same mark for a reality television program.
When her “What Would Jesus Do” mark was then published for opposition two years later, Tyler Perry Studios stepped forward to cancel it. Although Kearney had included in her registration a print-out of a web page calling for auditions on her show, Perry’s reps said that she wasn’t really using the mark. Perry demanded that the Trademark Office declare her registration abandoned as it was blocking his own attempts to turf out “What Would Jesus Do.”
To make a long story short, it turns out the guy with hundreds of millions of dollars had better lawyers than the person whose life goal was to work for Puff Daddy. So what does this mean, is Tyler Perry going to get five cents every time you throw on a WWJD wrist band to go pick up chicks at the mega church rock concert (total slut fest, incidentally)? The article is a little unclear, but it sounds like the trademark applies only to an entertainment property with the name.
If Tyler Perry does something with “What Would Jesus Do” — and as illustrated here, he’s under some onus to actually use it in commerce lest he also abandon the mark — this is the backstory behind it. [THR Esquire]
So, long story short, Tyler Perry is making a movie called ‘What Would Jesus Do.’ Is anyone surprised by this? Join us next week when Jerry Bruckheimer extends his patent claim on the Golden Rule.