Sports IP news: from Tom Terrific to Taco Tuesdays

On Behalf of | Sep 16, 2019 | Trademark Law |

sports fans love the Giants, 49ers, Sharks and Warriors, but we also appreciate stars on other teams. One of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history is a local guy, in fact. New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was born just a few miles south of in San Mateo.

Brady recently stunned New York Mets fans when his company filed trademark applications for “Tom Terrific” for clothing, posters, photographs and trading cards. Of course, Mets great Tom Seaver has long been known by the nickname Tom Terrific. According to a news report, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has initially rejected Brady’s application on the basis of false connection and the phrase/nickname applies to a living person.

Brady and his intellectual property attorney now have six months from the date of the rejection to respond.

In other sports-related IP news, Giannis Antetokounmpo – also known by his nickname the Greek Freak (he has a registered trademark for the moniker) – filed a trademark infringement and trademark dilution lawsuit against someone who had named a line of clothing “Greek Freak.” However, a report states that the two parties have settled their dispute and the case was dismissed.

A California hoops star who plays far south of the Bay Area is also making intellectual property news. LeBron James’ IP holding company has filed an application to register the phrase “Taco Tuesday” for ad- and entertainment-related services.

Sports fans everywhere are said to be wondering if the Chosen One can even do that. The answer: yes, he can, as long as he can show that that a trademark would be a distinctive identifier for particular goods or services. In short, it would be difficult to register the phrase for restaurant services featuring discounted tacos on Tuesdays, but it seems feasible to obtain a registration for entertainment services where the phrase is not descriptive and may be distinctive.

According to the news report, James’ “application joins a surprisingly long list of pending applications and current registrations for the Taco Tuesday phrase.”

Those who want to protect their intellectual property should contact a attorney experienced in matters of trademark registration and litigation.