peter-hansen-MeGmdPNe36w-unsplashOne of the benefits, one might suppose, of being among the most famous people on the planet is that relatively few people are unaware of important facts about you. It's fair to say that LeBron James ranks among those people, as his mega-stardom has made him known and recognizable the world over, even in places not enraptured with the game of basketball, and among those who don't know the sport at all and would struggle to name another player. His brand is ubiquitous, to use marketing parlance, to the point that it's hard to imagine anyone might be unaware of it.

Which is why it was curious that Carnival Cruise Lines pressed on with a trademark application on the name "King James" as the name of a future ship in their fleet. As sports fans (and non-fans) likely know, "King James" is LeBron's nickname, one dating back to when he was a callow teen just entering the NBA in 2003. And as fans of IP and this blog know, LeBron James and his team are also active in pursuing and protecting his business interests, which is why it should come as little surprise that he is he owner of the "King James" trademark as it pertains to sports.

Obviously, two similar trademarks can exist, provided that there is no risk of confusion or overlap; after all, LeBron isn't even the first or only "King James", although kids are probably less hype about 17th century monarchs noted for their commissioned translation of the Bible. Where Carnival runs into trouble is, sadly, in their commitment to providing all manner of fun on their ships: Carnival's filing notes that the ships would be sued for sporting activities, which gave James and his team the opening to oppose the trademark.

Given that opposition, Carnival withdrew its application, as it's likely easier to simply find a new name. The kicker in the story is that Carnival's chairman is Micky Arison, who also happens to own the NBA's Miami Heat, which happens to be the team that LeBron played for from 2010-2014, winning two championships during his tenure. Is the name application meant as a shot at LeBron after taking his talents away from South Beach, or simply something transpiring far below the level of chairman that doesn't rise above innocent misstep? None involved will ever say, and thus we'll never know. We can say that Carnival has at least gained this bit of wisdom: "You come at the king, you best not miss."

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