Trademark Law

‘Taco Tuesday’ too common for LeBron James to trademark, US patent office says

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LeBron James. Photo by Jamie Lamor Thompson/

On Wednesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied Los Angeles Lakers basketball player LeBron James’ attempt to trademark the phrase “Taco Tuesday.”

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office said in its decision that Taco Tuesday 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.” It’s used often “to express enthusiasm for tacos by promoting and celebrating them on a dedicated weekday.”

The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and ESPN have coverage.

The decision also said Taco Tuesday was similar to an existing trademark, “Techno Taco Tuesday,” which is held by a Las Vegas entertainment company.

James shared videos of his family’s taco nights on Instagram and made “It’s Taco Tuesday” T-shirts during the offseason, ESPN reports. In August, his company, LBJ Trademarks, filed the application to trademark Taco Tuesday and protect the use of the term in a variety of forums, including podcasts, social media and internet marketing.

A spokesman for James told the New York Times that in refusing to trademark Taco Tuesday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office gave James what he wanted: protection from liability as he continues to use the term.

Sports Illustrated credited Josh Gerben, a Washington, D.C. trademark lawyer, with breaking the news with his analysis of the decision on Twitter.

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