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Coffee shop pulling Moroni advertisements

But owners plan to sell shirts with LDS trademark for now

Published: Friday, March 23 2007 12:42 a.m. MDT

Ed Beazer, left, and Van Lidell, owners of Just Add Coffee, display a T-shirt Thursday that the LDS Church has asked them to stop selling, along with a request to remove Moroni from their advertising.

Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News

Enlarge photo»

TAYLORSVILLE — The two men making lattes and cappuccinos at Just Add Coffee simply smile and shrug when patrons ask about the official-looking letter displayed on the counter.

"We kinda got in trouble," explains Ed Beazer, co-owner of the shop.

The letter is from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, specifically its intellectual-property office, and takes issue with an advertising campaign for the coffeehouse that spoofs an LDS Church trademark.

T-shirts being sold at the coffee shop feature an image of the angel Moroni, the golden statue of a male figure in a robe blowing a trumpet that sits atop many LDS temples. In the Just Add Coffee version, Moroni's trumpet is angled upward as coffee from a pot is poured into it.

"It was a spoof," Beazer said. "It was meant to be fun."

It apparently didn't amuse the LDS Church, whose members are discouraged from drinking coffee.

In a letter sent to Beazer's home last week, the shop owner was informed that the image of Moroni is a registered trademark of the LDS Church. The letter also requested that Just Add Coffee discontinue use of the image in advertising campaigns.

The locally owned coffee shop at 5578 S. Redwood Road began featuring the image on greeting cards about a year ago, and at the request of patrons, started featuring it on T-shirts just before Christmas.

Beazer said he and co-owner Van Lidell were not aware that the image was a trademark until last week. The church took issue with the image after it appeared in a newspaper ad on March 9.

At the request of the LDS Church, Beazer said, Just Add Coffee has pulled newspaper ads with the image.

"We're not out to hurt anyone," Beazer said. "We're not out to be mean or spiteful."

But they're not ready to quit selling the T-shirts, either.

"They've been the best-selling T-shirts we've ever done," Beazer said.

Attorneys for Just Add Coffee have sent a letter to church officials to inform them of the shirts and request that the shop owners be sent proof of the trademark.

"If they provide proof, we're going to comply," Beazer said. "We don't want to break any laws or anything."

Church spokesman Scott Trotter confirmed to the Deseret Morning News on Thursday that the image is an LDS Church trademark.

In the meantime, the coffee-drinking Moroni shirts will remain on sale, the owners said.

The shirts come in several sizes and colors and feature the Just Add Coffee logo on the front, with the Moroni image on the back. Short-sleeve shirts cost $9.95, and the long-sleeve version runs $12.95.

"We don't know if we're going to be able to sell them much longer," Lidell said, "so this might be the last chance for people to get them."


E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

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