LeBron James Declares Victory In Losing Bid For 'Taco Tuesday' Trademark
from the generic-taco dept
It was only a couple of weeks ago that we wrote about LeBron James, part-time NBA superstar and full-time taco-lover, and his attempt to get a trademark for “Taco Tuesday” in the markets of podcasts, entertainment services, and social media. As we mentioned in that post, the idea that LeBron could get such a trademark on a fairly descriptive and widely used term is insane. Nearly as insane, as we noted, as the fact that the Taco John’s chain already has such a registered trademark. It was the latter bit that we, as well as many other commentators on the topic, predicted would be the reason LeBron’s application would be denied, as it would be identical to an already registered trademark.
But the USPTO never ceases to amaze, it seems. While the USPTO did in fact deny the application, the confusing trademark it cited in doing so wasn’t Taco John’s, but another application for an advertising company out of Nevada.
But there was another preceding trademark filing which Yahoo Finance also caught for “Techno Taco Tuesday” that proved to be a key piece in the downfall of James’ attempt to lock up the rights to Taco Tuesday.
The techno twist on the Tuesday was actually trademarked by a Las Vegas entertainment company back in 2018, specifically for the “advertising and marketing services” category for which James was seeking protection. As such, James’ application was denied for being “confusingly similar to the registered mark.”
Okay, so the USPTO decided that the fact that both applications included “Taco Tuesday” and the “Techno Taco Tuesday” application was both filed first and was in the same market as James’ application. That might normally be the end of the story, and a particularly boring one at that, except that LeBron’s team is declaring victory. Why?
Well, because of the other reason the USPTO gave for refusing to approve the trademark.
However, it’s not all bad news for the Los Angeles Laker. James could still respond to the USPTO filing with added or adjusted language within six months if he so chooses. And according to what someone in his circle reportedly told ESPN, James still may have achieved what he set out to do by establishing “Taco Tuesday” as a generic term to cover for any legal claims that could be brought against his use of the term.
“In this case, the applied-for mark is a commonplace term, message, or expression widely used by a variety of sources that merely conveys an ordinary, familiar, well-recognized concept or sentiment,” the USPTO examining attorney wrote in the declined trademark filing.
That sound you hear is the clicking of computer mice as every restaurant that has a Taco Tuesday event is bookmarking this ruling for when the Taco John’s people come calling claiming trademark infringement. I can’t imagine it’s going to be terribly long before some company, or group of companies, seek to invalidate the Taco John’s trademark that TJ’s has wielded like a cudgel for so long, because this statement by the USPTO is fairly clear: “Taco Tuesdays” is generic as all hell.
We cast narrow eyes at LeBron for filing this in the first place, but if he can end the madness that is Taco Tuesday trademarks, even I’ll call him King.