The trademark tussle over “Taco Tuesday” between Taco Bell and Taco John’s has finally concluded.
“Taco Tuesday” – a phrase widely embraced by taco aficionados worldwide – has been under the trademark protection of Wyoming-based fast-food chain Taco John’s for over four decades. However, in a surprising turn of events, the company announced on Tuesday that it would relinquish its hold over the term’s United States Patent and Trademark Office registration. CEO Jim Creel explained that defending the trademark by investing millions no longer seemed correct.
“We’ve always maintained that we’re lovers, not fighters, at Taco John’s,” remarked Creel.
In response to Taco Bell’s plea to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in May, the agency was urged to annul the trademark. The aim was to make the term “freely available to all who make, sell, eat, and celebrate tacos.”
The company further highlighted the significance of ‘Taco Tuesday,’ defining it as a cultural phenomenon that celebrates unity through a shared love for tacos.
Although Taco John’s decided to step down from the trademark tussle, it posed a challenge to Taco Bell and other competitors. Instead of exhausting resources on legal disputes, Taco John’s is committing $100 per outlet, around $40,000, to the nonprofit Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE). CORE offers financial assistance to restaurant workers and their families during life-changing events.
Taco John’s, founded in Cheyenne in 1969, has restaurants in 23 states and nearly 400 restaurants, while Taco Bell oversees 6,600 franchises nationwide and 450 corporate locations serving tacos for almost six decades.
The trademark “Taco Tuesday” is still challenged legally by Gregory Hotel, the parent company of Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar in New Jersey, which claims to have held the “Taco Tuesday” trademark in New Jersey since 1979. Taco Bell has also petitioned to cancel this trademark.
The release of this trademark is a victory for taco providers everywhere. Taco John’s decision to free Taco Tuesday means businesses, taco vendors, and restaurants can now celebrate and embrace ‘Taco Tuesdays’ any way they wish.
King aptly summarized the situation: “When tacos win, we all win.”