LeBron James Trademark Denial Could Be Bad News For Taco John’s
The United States Trademark and Patent Office denied basketball star LeBron James' application to trademark the phrase "Taco Tuesday", according to attorney Josh Gerben. At first glance, it seems like a win for Taco John's, the Cheyenne-based fast-food corporation that has held the trademark in 49 states since 1989. However, the ruling may ultimately jeopardize TJ's claim to the Taco Tuesday trademark.
In their denial, the Trademark and Patent Office told James that Taco Tuesday was a "commonplace message" in the market and cannot be protected as a trademark. The NBA legend has posted several weekly Taco Tuesday updates on his social media channels this year and was seeking exclusive rights to a Taco Tuesday podcast and online video channel
Taco John's has vigorously defended their Taco Tuesday trademark for decades.
"Over the years we’ve certainly asserted our trademark against national companies, restaurants big and small, and even pharmaceutical companies,” Taco John's Chief Marketing Officer Billie Jo Waara told Price Economics in 2016. “We also recognize that the unauthorized use [the trademark] is prolific, and we do our best to communicate ownership. It’s a challenge for sure.”
Taco John's claims the slogan originated from a Minnesota franchise in the early '80s, who made the phrase the centerpiece of a successful marketing campaign. After adopting the slogan nationwide, the corporation used the Taco Tuesday phrase in a series of high-profile television and radio commercials throughout the 80s before the slogan was officially trademarked. The trademark has been challenged several times during the past three decades but remains in effect in every state except New Jersey.