LeBron James Files Trademark Registration for ‘Taco Tuesday’
According to reporting from The New York Times, a company owned and controlled by Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (LBJ Trademarks LLC) has filed a claim to obtain trademark protection for ‘Taco Tuesday’. Over the last several months, Mr. James has consistently posted on Instagram and other social media sites using the term to highlight his family’s Tuesday night taco-themed dinners.
A spokesperson for the former Miami Heat superstar told reporters from The New York Times that the company has no intention of stopping other people from using the term. Instead, the purpose of filing for trademark rights was simply to “protect the company from potential lawsuits” should they decide to pursue related commercial opportunities in the future.
Can LeBron James Actually Trademark ‘Taco Tuesday’?
Maybe not. There are a couple of different issues that could potentially prevent LBJ Trademarks LLC from registering for trademark protection for the term ‘Taco Tuesday’. First and foremost, the phrase is actually already trademarked by a Wyoming-based company called ‘Taco John’s’. The company has registered a trademark for the term back in the late 1980s.
To be clear, this does not necessarily mean that LBJ Trademarks LLC will be stopped from obtaining trademark protection. Though this is not always well understood by the general public, multiple different companies can obtain trademark protection for the same terms. Indeed, this is common when terms are used across multiple industries.
The Phrase May Not Be Distinctive Enough to Warrant Trademark Protection
In terms of obtaining trademark protection, the much bigger problem from LeBron James is the ubiquitousness of the phrase ‘Taco Tuesday’. Simply put, it may not be distinctive enough to warrant any real trademark protection. Under U.S. trademark regulations, a mark must actually be associated with a specific brand or product. Generic terms and marks are typically not sufficient.
In practice, this means that LBJ Trademarks LLC may be able to obtain technical, but very thin trademark rights over the term ‘Taco Tuesday’. For example, it is very unlikely that LeBron James could stop a restaurant from using the term — even if the trademark application is approved. However, if someone were to sell a t-shirt with words ‘Taco Tuesday’ displayed over a basketball, he might have a viable legal claim. This is because, in some cases, trademark rights are granted in a relatively narrow manner. While the general public may not associate ‘Taco Tuesday’ with LeBron James, they may associate the term with him if you throw a basketball into the mix.
Get Help From a Trademark Lawyer in West Palm Beach, Florida
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our West Palm Beach trademark litigation attorneys have the skills and experience needed to handle the complete range of trademark claims. We can help your company protect its legal rights. If you need trademark law guidance, we are here to help. For a confidential initial consultation, please contact us at our West Palm Beach law office or our Miami beach law office.