Worship Leader’s Trademark Dispute Statement
Since our founding in the 1990s, Worship Leader has sought to preserve the theology of worship, serve the church, bring together ecumenical forms of worship, and empower authentic expressions of worship. Recently, however, we have been unexpectedly swept up in a sensationalized controversy due to a number of falsehoods that have been spread online by a handful of people and entities. As a result, we have drafted a comprehensive list of FAQs in order to provide a full accounting of the facts in full transparency. We hope this will serve as a helpful resource for all of you who have benefited from our ministry these many years–as well as anyone who may have encountered misinformation online or in the media.
Worship Leader Trademark Dispute FAQs
Updated on 3/28/2023
Over the last year, we’ve been negotiating with one company to request it change its logo to differentiate itself from ours/us. This individual company was using a logo with our mark, a similar font, layout, and appearance, and it was causing confusion at trade shows and other industry events. After we were unsuccessful in coming to terms with this individual personally, the other party engaged attorneys.
We were nearing a settlement when communications with the other party went silent. We issued a trademark form with Facebook which resulted in seven accounts being taken down. We admit this was an emotional reaction to a very real issue. It was not coordinated with our legal representation, and the result was the unintentional shutting down of several unrelated accounts. We worked quickly to see these profiles restored, making direct requests to the social providers for the same.
We are sincerely sorry that any of our actions around this situation created confusion, disappointment, and disunity.
What was the public response?
Shortly after these profiles were affected, we got emails from people who were upset. Some began online campaigns saying we were profiting off the popular phrase – “worship leader” –which is used throughout Christendom, and demanding we give up our trademark. Many of these campaigns misstated facts and defamed our company. We received hateful and antagonistic emails from some church leaders. Christian media outlets sensationalized the story in editorial coverage.
Do you own a trademark on the job title/position “worship leader?”
No. The trademark owned by Worship Leader relates to business activities in a few specific categories and has nothing to do with the title’s common use in hundreds of thousands of church settings every day.
Did you purposefully cancel multiple social media accounts using the words “worship leader?”
No. We contacted Facebook with concern about a single account that had created brand confusion for our ministry. Other affected accounts were restored within days of our knowledge of their removal.
Are you trying to profit off of the phrase “worship leader?”
No. Since 1992, we have been a ministry-focused small business providing a constant stream of free resources to the worship community. Worship Leader is not in this for money. We are called to serve, support, and equip worship leaders.
What exactly is a trademark, and why does Worship Leader have one?
A trademark protects brand names and logos used on goods and services. A copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. We have a trademark and copyrights because we create training videos, conferences, books, magazines, and online materials, among other things. Trademarks protect brand identity. Ours represents our longstanding mission in this space.
Is a trademark common among Christian companies?
Yes. Most ministries, churches, Christian music labels, book publishers, artists, and magazines have trademarks. Using another company’s trademark and trading off that company’s hard work and established reputation is illegal. In fact, one of the loudest dissenting voices in the effort to attack us for our trademark has now also applied for a trademark. We support their right and decision to do that.
What does it mean to defend a trademark?
Any company with a trademark is required by law to “defend” it. This means if another business tries to operate as “worship leader,” as in our case, we have to ask them not to. Our actions were intended to be towards one business that copied our name, and our logo, and is promoting similar business offerings.
Did you file a trademark for Worship Leader as recently as 2016?
No. Our trademark dates back to 1992.
Is Worship Leader a large corporation?
No. Worship Leader was started more than thirty years ago by Chuck Fromm and has been stewarded by the Fromm family ever since. The mission was always and will continue to be, to help steward worship away from performance culture, and to champion its heavenly focus.
After our founder, Chuck Fromm, passed away in 2020, his daughter, Lexi assumed the role of president. She’s one of only a few female leaders in the industry. Then, a group of Kingdom-minded investors came on board to help support the company and continue its mission.
Why do you call yourself Worship Leader?
Because we created Worship Leader to serve and to resource worship leaders.
Have you engaged in a lawsuit around your trademark?
No. Since the creation of Worship Leader, we have never sued any business over our trademark, and there is no pending litigation now.
Did you reach out to the pastor and elder board of the opposing party?
Yes. We hoped it would assist in reconciliation.
Do you plan on relinquishing or amending the trademark?
What will you do to assure everyone that this won’t happen in the future?
If in the future another business attempts to utilize our trademark, we will do our very best to resolve any disputes over this trademark respectfully and amicably.
Did you request an NDA from the other party?
Yes. It’s common for parties in attorney-mediated disputes to request mutual nondisclosure.
How can someone support Worship Leader?
Please pray for reconciliation between us and those who are slandering us and spreading misinformation, and please pray for the state and heart of the Church at large. Our desire is that God would use this situation and others to refine and shape the Body of Christ into His likeness and to knit us together as brothers and sisters.
We want to offer heartfelt thanks to the overflow of people who know and trust us and supported us in these events. It was encouraging to see that there were so many who asked questions and sought to fully understand the situation first, before reacting to sensationalized headlines and click-bait fodder. We are beyond grateful that God has allowed us to serve this community for more than three decades and look forward to supporting the worship movement well into the future.
If you have encountered additional claims about Worship Leader online that may be false, but are not reflected in the FAQs, please let us know [EMAIL] and we will update this post accordingly. It’s our team’s desire and honor to continue to serve you faithfully as we have done for more than 30 years.
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