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updated: 9/6/2019 5:41 PM

Wood Dale restaurant trying to block LeBron James from trademarking ‘Taco Tuesday’

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  • Taco Tuesday Inc. in Wood Dale is asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reject an application from a company owned by LeBron James to trademark the phrase "Taco Tuesday."

    Taco Tuesday Inc. in Wood Dale is asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reject an application from a company owned by LeBron James to trademark the phrase "Taco Tuesday."
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

Few fault LeBron James for his social media posts celebrating his love of eating tacos on Tuesdays.

Tacos, after all, are tasty.

But the basketball superstar's desire to trademark the phrase "Taco Tuesday" has a Mexican grill in Wood Dale fearing it could be barred from using its own name in internet marketing.

So the restaurant -- Taco Tuesday Inc. -- is asking the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to reject the trademark application filed by LBJ Trademarks LLC, a company owned by James.

"Presumably the owner of the applicant company enjoys eating tacos," Cliff Holmes, the restaurant's lawyer, wrote in a letter to the USPTO. "Tens of millions of Americans enjoy eating tacos.

"The quality of being a person who enjoys eating tacos (and posting to social media about one's experience in eating tacos deemed delicious) does not give rise to a cognizable claim to trademark ownership," Holmes wrote.

James has had viral Instagram posts where he enthusiastically proclaims it's "Taco Tuesday." Now his company wants to trademark the phrase for use in a number of forums, including social media, search engine marketing, internet marketing, mobile marketing, blogging, podcasting and "online entertainment services."

Taco Tuesday Inc., meanwhile, has sold "tens of thousands of tacos" since opening in April 2016 at 159 Front St., in Wood Dale.

"They're a very valued business in Wood Dale," Holmes told the Daily Herald. "This trademark application submitted by Mr. James' company, if granted, could threaten certain commercial interests for my client's company."

But a spokesman for James on Friday said the application was filed to protect James and his businesses from lawsuits from others claiming they have rights to "Taco Tuesday."

It has nothing to do with trying to stop others from using the phrase, the spokesman said.

There are other entities that have a trademark for "Taco Tuesday," including Taco John's, a Mexican fast-food restaurant chain based in Wyoming.

Holmes says Taco Tuesday Inc. has invested a significant amount of money to advance its business interests.

The restaurant uses social media and maintains a Facebook page that has hundreds of followers. It also advertises on Google and plans to start marketing on Instagram.

If the trademark application from James' company is approved, Holmes said, it's possible Taco Tuesday Inc. could be prevented from marketing its own business on social media and the internet.

"There could be a real impact to my client's business," he said.

However, the spokesman for James said Taco Tuesday Inc. has absolutely nothing to worry about as it relates to the trademark application filed by LBJ Trademarks. James has no intention of stopping anybody from using "Taco Tuesday," he said.

The USPTO is expected to take several months to review the trademark application.