Likelihood of Confusion: Battle of the O'Neals

Hey Shaq fans! It appears that the Diesel himself has run into a little legal mishap with his son, Shaqir. Shaqir O'Neal, the youngest son of NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, has been prevented from trademarking his name and likeness by Authentic Brands Group. The 19-year-old, a basketball player for the Texas Southern University Tigers, wants to start his own business like his father, but his father’s company has prevented him from doing so.

It appears that as July 15, 2022, Shaqir has received a notice of opposition from the USPTO citing that the name, likeness, and image rights of a certain celebrity who is also a shareholder in the business are all owned by Authentic Brands Group and a person by the name of Shaquille O'Neal. A notice of opposition is a complaint filed in a trademark opposition proceeding seeking denial of another party's trademark registration. Trademark oppositions are heard before the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

So, what might this mean for the father-son duo one might ask? Well let me explain. For Authentic Brands Group, they must demonstrate that there is a chance that consumers may confuse the "Shaqir O'Neal" mark with their own "Shaquille O'Neal" mark. To make his case, Shaqir needs to refute the same.

While the future outcome of this situation is unclear, as most know the difference between Shaq and any other individual walking this planet, from the outside looking in, I get it from a business aspect, however they can both co-exist and move on as the first names are slightly different and we know the difference, granted that is not enough to move forward on.

Hopefully Shaqir and his team can get this situation worked out in his favor.

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