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Patent office rejects two quirky trademark requests

by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 9/12/19, 11:53 am

Ohio State University wanted to start using “The” in large letters on promotional materials and merchandise to distinguish itself from other public universities in the state. NBA star LeBron James wanted to trademark the phrase “Taco Tuesday” because he likes tacos and wants to use the phrase without liability. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied both requests this week.

Why the denials? The patent office told Ohio State the use of the word “The” doesn’t differentiate the school enough to warrant a trademark. James can’t trademark “Taco Tuesday” because it is a “commonplace term” used widely “to express enthusiasm for tacos by promoting and celebrating them on a dedicated weekday,” according to the patent office. Additionally, the office pointed out a trademark might have led to confusion since a Las Vegas entertainment company holds the rights to “Techno Taco Tuesday.”

Dig deeper: Read Mary Reichard’s WORLD Magazine interview with the frontman of a band that won a 2017 Supreme Court case over a controversial trademark.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. Follow Rachel on Twitter @Rachel_Lynn_A.

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