World Wrestling Entertainment (“WWE”) recently filed an opposition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, contending that the soda line marketed under “Stone Cold Jones”, which is owned by the NFL’s Chris Jones, is confusingly similar and infringes upon the WWE’s trademarks, “Stone Cold Steve Austin” and “Stone Cold,” which are associated with the legendary wrestler Steve Austin. The NFL’s Chris Jones contends that “Stone Cold Soda” is widely recognized and that there will be no likely of confusion, but the parties have nevertheless been engaged in settlement discussions since December of 2020. On January 20, 2021, a thirty-day extension was filed with the USPTO, so that the proceeding would continue to be stayed while the parties explored the possibility of a resolution.
On November 18, LeBron James, the famous professional Basketball legend who is a key star player for the LA Lakers (and previously the Cleavland Caveliers and Miami Heat), filed a Notice of Opposition at the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against Carnival’s “KING JAMES” mark.
Why would LeBron James file this opposition for a mark used in connection with “cruise ship services” and filed last year? Perhaps because the mark is also in connection with Class 41 services: “providing sports facilities; organizing of sports competitions and sports events; providing facilities for recreational activities; . . . providing facilities for recreation” and Class 35 identification: “sport bags, gym bags, sports bags, . . . gymnastics and sporting articles.” See U.S. Trademark Application No. 88/588,812.
LeBron James’s Complaint has two causes of actions: (1) “False Suggestion of Connection with LeBron James” and (2) “Trademark Consist of a Name Identifying a Living Individual.” LeBron James alleges that “”King James” has been a well-known nickname of LeBron James for many years, well preceding the date Applicant filed its application. The media and basketball fans consistently refer to LeBron James as “King James”, and LeBron James’ Twitter handle is actually @KingJames. King James has therefore become a popular nickname of LeBron James, and is used interchangeably with LeBron Jame.” See Opposition No. 91266024 [TTABVUE 1]. It is worth noting that LeBron James does not currently hold a U.S. Trademark Registration for “KING JAMES.”
On November 26, Carnival withdrew its Application for “KING JAMES” “with prejudice.” This means that Carnival will not be allowed to refile an application for the mark “KING JAMES” in the future. See Opposition No. 91266024 [TTABVUE 4].