Conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham published a book titled Shut Up and Sing, which was directed at celebrities who expressed their opinions on various political issues. The phrase sort of became her tagline.
She modified her tagline in 2018 when she took exception at something that LeBron James said and told him that he should “Shut Up and Dribble.” Lebron James attempted to turn the tables on her when he filed a trademark application for the mark “Shut Up and Dribble” in association with various products.
It might seem confusing that LeBron James might be able to register his mark even though it is based on something that someone else said. However, it can be done because trademark rights are obtained in the United States through use of the mark in association with a product or service. In other words, it does not matter who created the mark. It matters who used it first.
Of course, trademark mark rights can arise by filing an application on an intent-to-use basis, but the filer must use the mark at some point to perfect those rights.
Unfortunately for LeBron James, William DelGrande, who was doing business as Sick Moose Productions, LLC, filed a trademark application for the mark “Shut Up and Dribble” in association with t-shirts in 2018. However, he ended up abandoning the mark later that year after it was rejected for failing to function as a trademark. This type of rejection is relatively rare and is directed at applications for common slogans or taglines.
It is likely that LeBron James’ application will receive a similar rinejection. A similar thing happened to LeBron James’ “Taco Tuesday” application, as detailed in my March 26, 2020 blog.