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Volume 27 No. 4
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LeBron, Ohio State See Recent Trademark Requests Denied

The "Taco Tuesday" application submitted by LeBron James' company LBJ Trademarks was "denied by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, citing 'Taco Tuesday's' established place in American lexicon as a 'commonplace message,'" according to Zack Guzman of YAHOO FINANCE. But there was also "another preceding trademark filing ... 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 phrase was "actually trademarked by a Las Vegas entertainment company" in '18, "specifically for the 'advertising and marketing services' category for which James was seeking protection." James "could still respond to the USPTO filing with added or adjusted language within six months" (FINANCE.YAHOO.com, 9/12). A spokesperson for James said the application was filed to "ensure LeBron cannot be sued for any use of 'Taco Tuesday." The spokesperson added that "finding 'Taco Tuesday' as commonplace achieves precisely what the intended outcome was, which was getting the U.S. government to recognize that someone cannot be sued for its use" (ESPN.com, 9/11). The L.A. Times recently reported that a Wyoming restaurant already trademarked "Taco Tuesday" (THE DAILY).

"A" UNIVERSITY: The USPTO said that the word "'the' doesn't belong to Ohio State University," and it is partially due to a fashion line from Marc Jacobs. In Cleveland, Eric Heisig notes the USPTO rejected an attempt by the university to "trademark the word, stylized as 'THE' in all caps, in ways that signify its association with the school on T-shirts and hats." In the ruling, the USPTO cited a Marc Jacobs fashion line that "beat the university to the punch, seeking to trademark 'the' on May 6 for its use on handbags, knapsacks and other items." Ohio State "didn't file its application until Aug. 8." The USPTO cited an "other reason is that Ohio State's proposed use of it on clothing 'is merely a decorative or ornamental feature of applicant's clothing.'" The word, as presented, is an "add-on and not something that would help people associate it with the university" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/12). In Columbus, Mark Williams notes as of last fall, OSU had "about 150 patents in 17 countries, plus other pending applications." Among its trademarks are the "names of former football coaches Urban Meyer and Woody Hayes." The university had "Meyer's name trademarked" in '15 and Hayes' in '16 (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 9/12).