Jesus® is Registered
(What offends you the most?)
by Dahni © 2013, all rights reserved
Did you even know that the name of Jesus is legally a registered name? Are you offended by this? Are you offended that a company does truly exist and sells, under the registered trademark of among other things, jeans since 2007? Or perhaps it has been as early as, the late 80′s or early 90′s in at least Italy and/or the whole EU (European Union)? But wait, I thought jeans, at least ‘blue jeans,’ first appeared in the 19th century US?
Jeans are trousers made from denim or dungaree cloth. Often the term “jeans” refers to a particular style of trousers, called “blue jeans.” These were invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, in the US in 1873. That’s a long way away from 1971, the 1980′s, 1990′s and 2007! Why is there no trademark registration for jeans?
Are you offended that this is not news, but actually a brand that began in 1971? Are you offended by one of their several mottoes as Chi mi ama mi segua – It. “Who loves me follow me” or “If you love me follow me?”
Are you offended by this picture? Whose buttocks modeled for this picture?
Did you notice the ®, the symbol for a registered trademark? Well, it is there because, it is a registered trademark, but more on this later.
For context, let us look back to the history or origin of Jesus® Jeans.
In the 20th century, the 6o’s, was a decade of change.
“Not only were those changes evident in fashions, but world events, music of the 60′s, automobiles, toys, and individual self expression…”
excerpt from: http://www.the60sofficialsite.com/
Contemporary flamboyant artists (often controversial), as Andy Warhol and Antonio Lopez were setting new trends in art and fashion. It was in 1967 that Lopez discovered something special about reluctant model, Donna Jordan and insisted she bleach her hair to become a platinum blonde. She became a very famous model under his tutelage and was known as the gap-toothed, brow-less (no eye brows), ’Disco Marilyn.’
Model, Donna Jordan
Also in 1967, ’Hair,’ the musical was released. ‘Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat’ came out the following year, in 1968. On May 23, 1969, the British rock band ‘The Who,’ released their fourth album, ‘Tommy,’ a double album, and it was overtly billed as the first rock opera. During August 15-18, 1969, the largest outdoor rock concert ever performed, took place on a 500 acre farm in Woodstock, NY. In 1970, a concept album with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, rocked the world with, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ On October 12, 1971, it made its official debut on Broadway (New York City, NY), as a musical. Are you offended that it is reported that no one associated with the album, the musical or the film adaptation in 1973, were Christian or believed in God? Are you offended that much of the material in all forms of J.C.S. cannot even be found in the Bible? Or are you offended that to push the boundaries of self-expression, opinion, social commentary and/or for profit, a clearly religious implied theme was presented, without accuracy or biblical authority?
But there you have some background information on the times which would produce, Jesus® Jeans. And in 1971, the same year as Jesus Christ Superstar, entered one Italian, Maurizio Vitale.
During a visit to New York City in 1971, Vitale happened to walk by a theater poster for, ‘Jesus Christ Super Star’ and came up with the name, Jesus® Jeans. He was Italian, why did not he use Gesù (Italian for Jesus)?
Are you offended that a country that gave birth to the Roman Empire, where its capitol also holds a separate country (the Vatican), the seat of one of the richest world religions at the expense of its people which by percentage, are among the world’s poorest? Are you offended that at the hands of the ancient Roman Italians occupying Jerusalem, Israel, were responsible, albeit some ignorantly, for the death of Jesus Christ? I do not know about anyone else, but if I was an Italian anywhere and especially if I was born and presently lived in Italy, I would be offended that the name Jesus, (whether real or not), was killed or even supposedly killed by my ancient countrymen, was used by an Italian company to sell jeans!
What if Germany Marketed Hitler Jeans with the motto, ‘Today Germany Tomorrow the World?’ Would Germany want to be awarded a registered trademark, associated with its worn past?
Are you offended that a modern age Italian, inspired by a poster for a controversial and non-biblical musical, conceived Jesus® Jeans?
From 1971 through at least 1973, the brand made a tour of Italy and those times are considered to be one of the most important events in the history of Italian advertising. Sex sells as evidenced by two of the brand’s advertisements, the scantily clad and butt-cheek-showing, of model Donna Jordan, and the shirtless male model in jeans, unbuttoned at the edge of his pubic hair.
Controversy sells too, by the brand name Jesus® Jeans with mottoes such as, ‘If you love me follow me,’ ‘Have no other jeans before me.’ and ’Freedom inside.’
How about the advertising glue of what is taboo, thought too sacred or too accursed to ordinarily undertake? Are you offended that we as individuals are often influenced to do something we may believe we should not do, but are still captivated by such attention arresting techniques?
Can there be any doubt that there are other perhaps subliminal suggestive tactics employed to market and sell the brand? What about the name and the material combined? Could it not be suggested - ‘I want you to get into my Jeans,’ or perhaps as an artist has implied by placing a number of pairs of jeans without bodies on liquid, ‘Jesus® Jeans Can Walk on Water?’
Are you offended by the company’s attempt to justify and explain the use of the name Jesus, as it is just a common name throughout the world and really, the Jesus of the Bible has nothing to do with Jesus® Jeans? Don’t even think about dis-associating Jesus of the Bible from this brand! If there was no connection implied, then why not instead have registered the name as Gesù® Jeans or some other name?
Can anyone fault or be offended in any way, as to the effectiveness of the brand’s marketing and advertising strategies? They are actually, quite brilliant! But are you offended by not what could be done, but whether or not such, should ever be done?
The brand seemed to diminish in the late eighties and perhaps due in part, to the death of its founder. Perhaps the brand was crucified by lack of sales and just died? Would you then be offended by its resurrection?
The parent company, which included Jesus® Jeans, was auctioned off and sold for the sum of 21 billion Italian lire (about 14+ billion US dollars). Entrepreneur, Marco Boglione which became owner, claimed as trademarks, Jesus® Jeans, among other brands. Boglione founded the group ‘BasicNet.’ Are you offended that in 1999, BasicNet, including the Jesus® Jeans brand, was listed on the stock exchange? Are you offended that BasicNet is headquartered in Turin, Italy? Surely you recall the still controversial, ‘Shroud of Turin?’ Are you offended by any potential connection to the shroud?
Attempts to trademark ‘Jesus’ were turned down in countries including Turkey, China, Switzerland, Australia, Norway and Cuba. Are you awed by the countries mentioned or offended by those that are not listed, but did NOT reject the brand name? In 2003, Britain’s patent office rejected its application as “morally offensive to the public.” But as a round-about, are you offended that Jesus® Jeans registered ‘Jesus’ through the European Union as a ‘Community Trademark’ and is valid across the whole European Union, including Great Britain?
Are you offended that the country’s Patent & Trademark office, the country that supposedly stands for Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness and The Bill of Rights, awarded Jesus® Jeans with registration for trademark in 2007?
Are you offended that Jesus® Jeans has reportedly warned dozens of other apparel start ups in the US against using Jesus® in their brand since winning the trademark? Are you offended that an Italian company would threaten US companies in this country? Are you offended that this country has allowed this Italian brand to be registered here and would protect it against infringement? Are you offended that other companies in the US would also want to use the name of Jesus® to market their products as well? Or are you offended that the Italians, just got there first? Would you be offended if a church or religious related group wanted to use the name Jesus® to sell their products, even if for non-profit purposes?
When Michael Julius Anton, from Virginia, wanted to patent his company, ‘Jesus Surfed,’ he found the Italian jeans label had already beaten him to it. Lawyers have told Mr Anton he cannot trade commercially using this name. And why not? It is because the name of Jesus® is already, a registered trademark!
Others to have been warned include: ‘Jesus First,’ ‘Sweet Jesus,’ and ‘Jesus Couture.’ Intellectual property lawyers opine that there is nothing against companies owning century-old names. OK, but the name Jesus® is about millennia, not just centuries. Would you be offended if your name is Bill or Mary and I owned your name? Are you offended over not if it is legal to use the name of Jesus® for commercial purposes, but rather that it should have never been made legal in the first place?
“If somebody—small church or even a big church—wants to use ‘Jesus’ for printing a few T-shirts, we don’t care,” said Domenico Sindico the general counsel for intellectual property at BasicNet, but when companies like ‘Jesus Surfed’ want to make money from their products, “that’s a concern,” he said. Lawyers have warned Mr Anton that he can only use the name Jesus in ‘descriptive, religious, free speech, ornamental sense’ and that he should withdraw his trademark application. Mr Anton said in preparing to fight this case, “Jesus® Jeans has absolutely nothing to do with anything biblical. I didn’t think it would be that big of a hassle.”
Are you offended over the name of Jesus®, being used to sell products? Are you offended because it should not matter and the very suggestion that it should or could matter is, offensive to you? Are you even offended at all or are you still looking at or thinking about those possibly sexy female or male pictures above?
After all, is not all fair in love and business or was that war? Are not businesses kind of at war with each other, with their customers and anyone that might dare to stand in their way? Isn’t the bottom line the bottom line and whether or not something can make or turn a profit? And as to after-the-fact or back ended motives, why think of the jobs and possibly, many other benefits the brand affords many people? It is just the means to an end? And in the end, it is success or might that makes right, right? Should it even matter to you whether or not you are a Christian? Perhaps, if you are a Christian, you might adopt the what-difference-does-it-make attitude because, at least the name of Jesus® is being used and thought about?
Jesus® might have been the first to use such tactics to sell their jeans, but even Calvin Klein® employs many of the same marketing strategies as Jesus® and I am often offended by their ads, just not as offended. At least Calvin Klein® is a registered name for Calvin Klein the fashion designer and he and his company may not necessarily and directly be trying to offend Jesus®, but probably competing with Jesus® for ‘followers.’
Are you offended by the use of the name Jesus® or should you be offended just because many millions of people worldwide may be offended?
Quite frankly, I am offended that everyone is not offended over this whole matter, whether or not you are, or are not a Christian. Go ahead and argue the once original concepts, now mostly corrupted and labeled with the word progress, yet still called freedom of speech and self-expression. Does not common sense and even the law, at least in the United States, prohibit anyone from yelling in a crowded theater, something like, ‘Oh Jesus®, your jeans are on fire,’ unless they really are?
Those Italian jeans should never have been even thought about, registered, marketed and sold anywhere, by anyone; any time!! Profit be damned, it is just morally offensive. And if you do not agree or are not offended, shouldn’t we be offended, just because there are many that take offense? But Jesus® Jeans exist because insufficient numbers of people that care, are outnumbered by those who do not. That’s the real offense to me, because apathy affects everyone, Christian or not!
“Give us clear vision, that we may know where to stand and what to stand for – because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything.”
~ Peter Marshall, US Senate Chaplain 1947
Note: If you would like to argue over the originator of the quote in sum and substance – “stand for something or fall for anything,” so be it. It has been attributed to British, Alex Hamilton and erroneously to US, Alexander Hamilton. Malcolm X is said to have been the first, and Dr. Martin Luther King, among others. But isn’t the point not who said it, but isn’t it the words and that it was said? Is not the point, not that those jeans could and do exist, but that they never should? What if you and I; all of us took a stand…