By: Ariana Rainbow
"The Shop" is a web series, developed by Lebron James' company Uninterrupted Inc, that takes place in a barber shop where various athletes and celebrities (including Lebron himself) come together to discuss various topics on their business ventures, successes, ambitions, life journeys and lessons, social justice, and culture. The web series was just recently picked up by HBO and aired its first episode last month.
The first trademark issue involves Sabastian Jackson, who owns Adventure Enterprises Inc. and claims that he came up with the "Shop Talk" concept. Jackson's alleged concept consists of a program where local and national celebrities come together to share their business stories and other insights while getting their hair done. Jackson claims that he communicated via email and text message with Cree for two years, an Uninterrupted employee that works for Lebron James, and discussed his shop talk concept starting in 2014. Jackson finally trademarked the mark "Shop Talk" in 2016, and listed its service as an organization of events for cultural purposes under international class 41, which includes education, entertainment, sporting and cultural activities. After James came out with his first episode of "The Shop" in 2017, Jackson sent a cease and desist letter in August 2017 with a trademark infringement warning. James then came out with two more episodes which lead to Jackson filing a trademark infringement claim in April 2018.
The second trademark issue involves the University of Alabama's football team creating a barbershop themed web series initially entitled "Shop Talk". The web series featured Alabama's football coach, players and a former wide receiver who now plays with the Atlanta Falcons. Alabama uploaded a preview of the series on their twitter page in March 2018. James sent the University of Alabama a letter warning them of trademark infringement. After receiving this letter, the University of Alabama changed the name of the web series to "Bama Cuts", which is trademarked under international class 44 as a barber shop service.
It was interesting to see that Lebron James never trademarked the name "The Shop" since this is the name of his web series. One might have concluded that "The Shop" is incapable of being trademark as it could be merely descriptive, but it looks as if QVC Inc. has already trademarked "The Shop" under the same international class 41 that includes entertainment, sporting and cultural activities. James would most likely have used this trademark under the same international class since he trademarked "Uninterrupted" under international class 41.
The trademark infringement case between James and Jackson was finally resolved outside of court and officially dismissed on July 19, 2018. It is assumed that both parties came to some sort of settlement agreement. It is clear that Lebron James was forced to jump through many hoops to get to his HBO premiere on August 28, 2018.
Check out this link below, which includes videos of "The Shop" and "Bama Cuts", to see the similarities for yourself!