Tyler Perry Wins Trademark Battle Over “What Would Jesus Do?”


His opponent at the Trademark Office was a reality TV star who registered first and claimed she had introduced him to the title of a proposed show. She still lost.

While not scripture of ecclesiastic precept, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has declared Tyler Perry to be the winner in a battle over “What Would Jesus Do.”

The other contestant in this bout was Kimberly Kearney, who was once known as “Poprah” on the VH-1 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 based 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 out 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.”

In subsequent papers at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, Kearney attempted to make the case that she first used the mark in November 2007, and during the initial stage of production, she “shared her television program and title with Tyler Perry Studios” and that “not many months after sharing this program and soliciting [Perry] for financial support of this program, [Perry] filed to register this mark; consequently, eventually resulting in this cancellation proceeding.”

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SOURCE: Eriq Gardner 
The Hollywood Reporter