Is the Term ‘Mormon’ Truly Trademarked?

Jonathan Eller, co-founder of Mormon Match, says he is searching for court protection to conserve his company.


Chapstick, Kleenex, Bubble Wrap and Onesies are all words that have been trademarked. Can the Mormon Church trademark the time period “Mormon”? A legal dispute with a modest organization asks that concern.

Jonathan Eller, 31, a one father in Spring, Texas, close to Houston, stated that he experienced attempted numerous Mormon-themed courting internet sites, “but the sites weren’t usually being correct to Mormon values and it was difficult to discover the correct match,” a court affidavit states. The household historical past of Eller and his co-founder goes back again to the Mormon pilgrims.

In July 2013, Eller released his firm Mormon Match by means of the web site, which showcased a photo that the company licensed showing the Salt Lake Town Temple. He submitted a trademark software for the style, shape and hues of his symbol to stop other internet sites from copying it.

Eller explained the church’s intellectual property arm, Mental Reserve Inc. (IRI), argued that the phrase “Mormon” was trademarked and complained about the temple photograph. The IRI contacted Mormon Match’s Web internet hosting organization and tried to get the web site shut down, Eller stated in courtroom papers.

The web site claims these actions forced it to look for defense in U.S. District Court in Houston in early April to conserve the company, in accordance to the firm assertion. In switch, IRI sued Eller and his business, declaring they are infringing and unfairly competing with IRI and the church, in accordance to lawful response and counterclaims submitted in late April.

“Jon and Mormon Match have every appropriate to talk that their companies are for Mormons and carry on to keep out hope that the parties can solve these concerns and that Mormon Match can create and grow its business,” a assertion from Mormon Match said.

Eric Hawkins, a spokesman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-working day Saints, stated in a statement that he wanted to make distinct that the church did not initiate the lawsuit. Alternatively, he stated the church objected to a trademark software and had been sued.

“We have produced recurring makes an attempt to solve the situation with no litigation, as we have in many equivalent disputes over the years, including equivalent trademark apps. The objection of the church is that a for-revenue business is trying to deceptively capitalize on the church’s title and impression to advertise a solution that has no affiliation with the church. By making an attempt to trademark the name, the group seeks to assert distinctive rights to use a time period that is obviously associated with the church,” Hawkins said.

The nonprofit group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus short on Friday in help of Mormon Match. Corynne McSherry, intellectual home director at EFF, informed ABC News she hopes the decide will dismiss the lawsuit, however a hearing is scheduled for September.

“The Mormon church is declaring rights for ‘Mormon’ to describe a Mormon,” McSherry mentioned. “I do not feel the Vatican can trademark ‘Catholic.’ The Vatican or any other entity can get it trademarked as element of a phrase.”

She details to the reality that Mormon Tabernacle Choir is trademarked, for example, due to the fact it really is a “distinctive entity.”

“The complete level of trademark regulation is to avert customer confusion. When you’re employing the time period merely to describe somebody and it’s the accurate way to describe them, there’s no buyer confusion,” McSherry stated.

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