LeBron James successfully opposed Carnival’s use of KING JAMES as a trademark. Carnival filed a trademark application for KING JAMES in connection with retail store services, cruise ship services, providing sports facilities, banquet services, and beauty and health care services. The US Patent and Trademark Office determined that Carnival was entitled to a trademark registration for KING JAMES in connection with the services listed above. However, during the opposition window, James filed an opposition.
How LeBron successfully opposed Carnival’s use of KING JAMES
James does not have a trademark registration for KING JAMES. Yet, he argued, through a representative company, that he is “the famous professional basketball legend” and “‘King James’ has been a well-known nickname of LeBron James for many years, well preceding the date Applicant filed its application.” James further alleged that “[a]s a result of this fame and reputation, consumers and the general public have come to associate the nickname ‘King James’ with LeBron James, and ‘King James’ has come to identify LeBron James.”
Having alleged that James is famously known as KING JAMES, James then argued that (1) Carnival’s registration would create a false suggestion of connection with James and (2) Carnival’s trademark consists of a name identifying a living individual.
James relies almost entirely on his fame for this ground. He again reiterates that he is a world famous basketball player. He then claimed that KING JAMES is so well known as an identification of James, that consumers would presume Carnival’s use to be in connection or association with James. I doubt that consumers of cruise line services would associate a relationship between James and KING JAMES cruise lines services. Yet, Carnival never fought the allegation.
Carnival’s trademark consists of a name identifying a living individual
Obviously, James’s name is not KING JAMES. However, James argued that the public knows him by this nickname. James contended that he is so well known by his nickname that it clearly identifies him. Thus, Carnival must obtain written consent from James to use his name as a trademark. Carnival obviously did not do so. As a result, James argued that the USPTO should not issue Carnival a trademark registration for his name.
Carnival abandoned the application
In response to James’s petition to oppose Carnival’s registration, Carnival simply abandoned its application. We don’t know if the parties came to a confidential agreement. However, Carnival clearly gave up its rights to its KING JAMES application. Clearly, James was the victor.
Don’t challenge LeBron James on or off the court. LeBron successfully opposed Carnival’s use of KING JAMES and I doubt he will hesitate to oppose future attempts at registering KING JAMES.