Say what you will about Tyler Perry‘s movies, but he stays winning. The creator of the Madea franchise has trademarked the term “What would Jesus do?”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Perry the rights to the terms after a long legal battle with Kimberly Kearney. If you remember VH1’s reality series I Want to Work for Diddy, she was known as “Poprah” on the show.
Kearney actually registered the trademark for WWJD first, but it seems that Perry’s lawyers went to work and finagled the rights despite filing for it months later in May 2008.
They requested the admission of certain facts by Kearney — that she admit she hadn’t produced a television show in connection with “What Would Jesus Do,” that she hadn’t sold one, that she didn’t intend to do so nor had taken any meetings for such a show.
“Because [Kearney] did not timely answer [Perry]’s Requests for Admission the facts included are deemed admitted and are ‘conclusively established,'” wrote administrative judges in an opinion cancelling Kearney’s trademark that was handed down last month and has just been promulgated. “Despite Respondent’s denials in her answer to [Perry’s] petition, the deemed admissions supersede those denials and we are bound by them.”
The judges also note Kearney’s claims that Perry stole her “What Would Jesus Do” idea, but says that even if it was enough to support use or be a defense of unclean hands, “these allegations are unsupported and we may not adduce any facts from them.”
Did Poprah get a raw deal?
Tell us what you think of Tyler Perry owning a piece of Jesus (sorry, too easy), in the comments.