On the surface, LeBron James has it all. He has three NBA titles, an estimated net worth of $275 million, and is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. Despite his riches and many accolades, LeBron is looking to add yet another feather in his hat: the trademark of “Taco Tuesday.”
Yes, that’s right, King James' company LBJ Trademarks LLC has filed a request to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to trademark the widely used phrase “Taco Tuesday” to apply to social media, podcasts, downloadable audio, entertainment services, and visual works.
According to James’ spokesperson, the Lakers star has brought increased attention to the widely used “Taco Tuesday” through his social media posts that garner millions of views. James regularly mentions his family’s taco dinners in Instagram posts. The spokesperson added that the trademark would protect James’s company from legal action should it seek to pursue any ideas related to “Taco Tuesday” and is not intended to prevent others from using the ubiquitous phrase.
As bizarre as James’s request is, it’s not unprecedented. In fact, celebrities have tried to trademark all sorts of phrases—some successfully and others...not so much. Here are five other well-known entertainment and sports stars who failed in their trademark quest.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: “Snooki”
While some people attempt to trademark famous catchphrases, others try and trademark nicknames. Case in point: Jersey Shore star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, who attempted to trademark her signature nickname during the height of the MTV reality show's success. Polizzi was out of luck, however, because the US Patent and Trademark Office denied her request because they thought consumers may confuse “Snooki” with the children’s book character “Snooky.”
Katy Perry: “Left Shark"
Remember Katy Perry’s halftime performance at Super Bowl XLIX in 2015? Chances are that if you do, you’ll recall her background dancer Bryan Gaw in a seven-foot tall blue shark costume who stole the show. In an attempt to capitalize on the dancer’s success, Perry tried to trademark “Left Shark.” A few months after the big game, Left Shark’s fifteen minutes were up and Perry’s request was rejected.
Kylie Jenner: “Kylie"
It turns out that trademarking your actual name is just as difficult as trademarking a nickname. Just ask reality TV star and makeup mogul Kylie Jenner. In 2014, Jenner tried to trademark “Kylie” for endorsement and advertising opportunities, but was denied in large part due to opposition from Australian singer and actress Kylie Minogue. In her notice of opposition, the pop star stated that granting Jenner her trademark request would create “confusion resulting in damage and injury.”Jenner’s request was denied in 2017 and Minogue publicly stated that she harbored no ill will toward the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star.
Tom Brady: “Tom Terrific"
Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady will no doubt go down as one of the greatest players in NFL history, but that doesn’t mean he’s exempt from failure. In an attempt to silence folks from using a nickname he hated, “Tom Terrifc”, Brady tried to trademark the phrase. Not only was Brady’s request denied, but he also pissed off New York Mets fans who argued that the nickname belonged to Baseball Hall of Famer Tom Seaver. Earlier this year, the Patriots QB acknowledged his error in judgement and called it a “good lesson learned.”
President Donald Trump: “You’re Fired!"
Before he was president, Donald Trump starred on NBC’s The Apprentice and its spin-off Celebrity Apprentice for a combined 14 seasons. As you may recall, much of the show's appeal hinged upon who Trump fired at the end of each episode. Due to the popularity of the phrase "you're fired!", Trump attempted to trademark it to do what he does best—plaster it all over the place. In fact, the future commander-in-chief wanted to put the phrase on games, clothing, and casino devices. Unfortunately for Trump, he was was denied due to its similarity to an educational board game titled “You’re Hired!”
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