LeBron James shuts down Carnival cruise line’s trademark application for ‘King James’

There’s only one King James in the United States, and it’s Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. Carnival Corp. — the cruise company — tried to trademark the term “King James” in the United States, but quickly dropped that application once James got involved, according to the Miami Herald.

Carnival Corp. first applied for the “King James” trademark in August 2019. The company had to make changes to that application multiple times, but eventually received the go-ahead from the federal government in July 2020.

Carnival’s 15-month fight for the trademark came to an end in less than 10 days once James got involved. James filed an opposition to the “King James” trademark Nov. 18. On Nov. 26, Carnival pulled the application permanently. James has gone by the nickname “King James” for years. He uses the term for his Twitter and Instagram handle.

In an odd twist, Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison owns the Miami Heat. James played for the Heat for four seasons, winning his first two NBA championships with the franchise.

LeBron James is too popular a figure in the United States

Carnival Corp.’s decision to pull the application so quickly was unexpected, Miami trademark attorney Mark Terry told the Herald. The company likely stopped pursuing the trademark because it didn’t want to get into a public spat with James.

Still, the decision is puzzling. As Terry points out, Carnival Corp. was fine paying attorney fees for 15 months, but quickly gave up on that once James got involved. The company didn’t even put up a fight.

Maybe that was the right decision. If Carnival Corp. continued to pursue the trademark, it may have had to prove King James — the British monarch — is more famous than LeBron James. That probably wasn’t going to happen in the United States. That wasn’t the case in the United Kingdom, where Carnival Corp. was granted the “King James” trademark in January.

While that explains some of the logic behind Carnival Corp.’s decision, the move is still surprising. Carnival Corp. reported a $2.99 billion net worth in 2019. James’ net worth in 2018 was $450 million, according to Forbes.

The company may have lost the “King James” trademark to James in the long run, but it had enough money to at least make James sweat.

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