Further evidence for the free-market model in American religious life: churches increasingly trademark their names and logos to avoid consumer confusion. The practice is especially useful for megachurches, lawyers say. As one explains:
When a church registers its trademark, it’s a simple and low-cost way to protect against ‘identity theft’ by preventing others from misusing its good name and reputation while protecting its investment in branding and name recognition. It makes all the sense in the world, and is good stewardship of a church’s assets. It allows the church to secure their marketing and secure the usage of that trademark, and to make it clear to the community who they are. It’s useful in the environment that we live in today with the Internet and the amount of resources that get dedicated to marketing.
There is some dispute whether churches can trademark names only, since so many church names incorporate common Biblical phrases. Trademarking both names and logos seems the way to go.