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Tyler Perry wins trademark battle for ‘What Would Jesus Do’

The media mogul won the right to use the popular phrase in creating entertainment programs, even though reality star Kimberly Kearney had trademarked it first.

Thursday, July 3, 2014, 5:39 PM
Tyler Perry speaks onstage during the 45th NAACP Image Awards in February 2014. Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awa Tyler Perry speaks onstage during the 45th NAACP Image Awards in February 2014.

What would Jesus do? Ask Tyler Perry.

The United State Patent and Trademark Office sided with the media mogul in the trademark battle for the popular phrase “What Would Jesus Do,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

He won the battle over “I Want to Work for Diddy” star Kimberly “Poprah” Kearney, who registered the trademark in 2008, several months before Perry did. Perry registered the phrase in the category of “entertainment services,” with the idea of producing “live concerts, a TV program and motion pictures” in relation to the trademark.

Kearney had it trademarked to use as the title for a reality show, but Tyler Perry Studios challenged her claim due to lack of use.

Kearney contended that she first used the mark in November 2007, including the fact that she had “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.”

The Hollywood Reporter stated that the “Madea Goes to Jail” star’s lawyers did “trademark jujitsu” to invalidate Kearney’s argument, including the fact that she has not yet produced or sold a “What Would Jesus Do” reality series and does not have a show in the works.

On Wednesday, the judges ruled in favor of the actor-producer, transferring the trademark from Kearney to Perry.

Kearney took to Twitter to lament her loss.

“Thanks every1 who has reached out bout the board letting @tylerperry steal my trademark 4,” she tweeted Thursday. “What Would Jesus Do-but its not over-God got this!”


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