It's 'Taco Tuesday' for All as Taco Bell Reclaims Trademark From Rival

It's 'Taco Tuesday' for All as Taco Bell Reclaims Trademark From Rival
Cover Image Source: Facebook/Taco Bell

In a recent legal battle, Taco Bell, the fast-food giant under Yum Brands, has emerged victorious in its efforts to secure the phrase 'Taco Tuesday' from a competing fast-food chain, Taco John's. The dispute unfolded at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) with Taco Bell arguing that the common phrase had been unfairly monopolized by Taco John's within the restaurant industry, per Yahoo!Finance. How did Taco Bell manage to reclaim the popular term?

Image Source: Pexels/Chitokan C.
Image Source: Chitokan C./Pexels

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Back in May 2023, Taco Bell took a stand and lodged a request with the USPTO to cancel Taco John's federal trademark of 'Taco Tuesday.' The fast-food giant contended that the phrase was a widespread and commonly used term within the restaurant industry, and its exclusive ownership by Taco John's was unjust and limiting for other players in the market. With a robust network of over 7,200 locations across the United States, Taco Bell had the resources and determination to challenge the contentious trademark.

In an unexpected turn of events, Taco John's chose to abandon its 'Taco Tuesday' trademark in response to Taco Bell's challenge. Jim Creel, CEO of Taco John's expressed that although they took pride in being known as the home of Taco Tuesday, the company opted not to spend millions on legal battles to protect the mark. Instead, Taco John's decided to take a philanthropic approach by pledging to donate $100 for each of its nearly 400 locations to a nonprofit organization aiding restaurant workers in crisis. This decision not only showcased Taco John's commitment to the community but also added pressure on Taco Bell to follow suit.

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Although Taco Bell's triumph in the trademark dispute was evident, the fast-food giant remained tight-lipped in response to Taco John's decision to abandon the mark. Despite multiple requests for comments, Taco Bell representatives chose not to immediately react to the USPTO filing. This silence left many speculating about Taco Bell's next steps and whether they would accept Taco John's challenge to donate to the cause.

While Taco Bell celebrated its victory on a nationwide scale, a separate challenge to the 'Taco Tuesday' trademark remains pending in the state of New Jersey. The rights to use the phrase in commerce in all states except New Jersey were owned by Taco John's. However, in the Garden State, the 'Taco Tuesday' mark is still held by Gregory's Restaurant & Bar in Somers Point. Taco Bell's determination to liberate the phrase fully from any exclusivity might face further hurdles in this particular jurisdiction.

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Gregory Gregory, the co-owner of Gregory's Restaurant & Bar asserted that they had no intentions of relinquishing their ownership of the 'Taco Tuesday' trademark. He expressed shock at Taco John's swift abandonment of the mark and remained firm in protecting their right to use the phrase. As the New Jersey case unfolds, Taco Bell may encounter a more substantial challenge in its quest to make 'Taco Tuesday' a universally available term.

Taco Bell's approach to publicizing its petitions to cancel the 'Taco Tuesday' trademarks was strategically intertwined with a marketing campaign. The company claimed that its goal was to liberate the phrase for restaurants nationwide, projecting itself as a champion of fair competition in the industry. However, Taco John's countered this narrative, asserting that Taco Bell's true motive was simply to sell more tacos and that their trademark did not hinder other establishments from advertising and selling tacos on Tuesdays.


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