Mormon church sues Canadian polygamist over trademarked name

Sat Jun 21, 2014 6:54pm EDT
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By Jennifer Dobner

SALT LAKE CITY Utah (Reuters) - The Mormon church has sued a Canadian polygamist for using its trademarked name, saying its reputation was damaged and that donations intended for the denomination were misdirected, a lawsuit filed in a Canadian court said.

Attorneys for the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints argued in the suit that Winston Blackmore copied its name by registering his religious polygamist community under the moniker Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Inc.

The church uncovered the similarities in January, when it tried to register with the Canadian government and was blocked. Court papers filed on Wednesday in the British Columbia Supreme Court said Blackmore had refused to voluntarily make a change, in an attempt to trade on the church's reputation. 

No hearings are set in the case and an effort to reach Blackmore on Saturday was unsuccessful.

"(Adopting the name) is yet another attempt of the Blackmore Sect to convey a false impression of affiliation with the Church," court documents said.

Blackmore is head of a religious community in Bountiful, British Columbia, which has traditionally practiced polygamy. Once known as the "Bishop of Bountiful," Blackmore was formerly the head of the Canadian arm of the Warren Jeffs-led Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

He was ousted a decade ago, and hundreds of Jeffs’ Canadian followers left with him.

With some 15 million members worldwide, the mainstream Mormon church rejects any association with fundamentalists and polygamy, a practice it abandoned in the 1890s.   Continued...