Why is a small Chicago-area church preparing to go to trial against the world's second-largest sporting-goods company next month?
It's the latest phase of a long-running trademark dispute over a tithing slogan claimed by the church as a "prophetic word spoken" more than a decade ago.
Christian Faith Fellowship Church (CFFC) of Zion, Illinois, has refused to accept a $5,000 offer from Adidas in exchange for the church's surrender of its "Add-A-Zero" logo, which the church trademarked in 2006 to use on products sold in connection to its "righteous" building campaign. The slogan is used to encourage church members to "add a zero" to each week's tithe.
In 2009, Adidas's "adizero" logo was denied trademark registration in the United States due to the similarity with the church's existing trademark. Adidas has continued to market its lightweight "adizero" shoes, while trying to get the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the church's trademark. Two weeks ago, Adidas's request was denied, prompting a July trial.
The church, which has expressed a willingness to settle if Adidas adds a few zeros to its previous $5,000 offer, is attempting to get Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose, whose line of Adidas shoes features the "adizero" logo, to support its cause, even suggesting it will request a deposition from the hometown basketball player.
Although the church filed its logo prior to Adidas's attempt, Adidas's product output significantly trumps that of the church, leaving the court's future decision unclear.
CT has previously noted debate over church trademarks, particularly in connection with a 2011 naming conflict involving a church plant of Seattle's Mars Hill.
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