The term “Taco Tuesday” is used in homes, school cafeterias and restaurants throughout the country. Therefore, some people have considered basketball superstar LeBron James’ recent move to trademark it to be somewhat audacious.
The trademark request was filed last month by LBJ Trademarks LLC to protect the term’s use in a variety of forums, including online marketing, social media, “downloadable audio/visual works,” podcasts and “entertainment services.” However, his representatives say the move is not what it seems. A spokesman for the Los Angeles Laker says, “The filing was to protect the company from potential lawsuits should we decide to pursue any ideas, nothing of which is in development….”It has nothing to do with stopping others from using the term.”
James celebrates his family’s weekly taco night on Instagram with his millions of followers by announcing that it’s “Taco Tuesday.” While the term has gained popularity in recent years, particularly in larger cities, it’s by no means new. References to it can be found in the U.S. as long ago as 1933. It was trademarked 30 years ago by the Taco John’s restaurant chain.
That company has been vigilant in its efforts to protect its federally protected trademark. However, since the term has become ubiquitous, those efforts have been largely unsuccessful.
James isn’t alone in his attempt to trademark “Taco Tuesday.” There have been two dozen other filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Some are still pending.
Most trademarked words and phrases are more closely associated with a company or person than “Taco Tuesday” is. A trademark may be necessary to protect your brand and reputation.
Federal and state trademark laws can be complicated. If you’re seeking a trademark or if you’ve been accused of trademark infringement, it’s essential to have an experienced intellectual property attorney on your side.