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Trademarks: Even phrases can be used

Trademark law is an important part of business law, because it helps businesses protect their images. LBJ Trademarks, LLC, is a business that is run by Lebron James. Recently, he trademarked the phrase, "Nothing Is Given. Everything Is Earned." He also trademarked, "The I Promise School Nothing Is Given. Everything Is Earned."

Many people want to know how he can trademark a relatively common phrase. Similarly, in the 1990s, John Calipari, a basketball coach, trademarked "Refuse To Lose." Athletes tend to trademark inspirational quotes because they use them when promoting themselves. It becomes part of their image, so they want to protect those phrases.

How can they do that? The law allows phrases to be trademarked and protected as long as they're not too similar to a phrase or trademark being used by another party. Additionally, the mark has to do more than just describe your product. Even though the person trademarking the phrase isn't necessarily the one who created it, the law still allows it to be used as long as someone else isn't using it in their business already.

In the case of Lebron James, he owns several of these marks including "Just A Kid From Akron," describing his home town and "Strive For Greatness," which is supported by his image and brand. He has, according to claims, up to 30 trademarked phrases either registered or pending in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Protecting your trademark is important. The right documents help you keep your business's image its own, so you don't have another infringe on your rights.

Source: Forbes, "What Can Lebron James Teach Us About Trademark Law?," Jess Collen, Nov. 01, 2017

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