Trademark ‘Taco Tuesday’ erupts in new warfare between fast food competitors

Cheyenne, Wyo. (Associated Press) — Declaring its mission to make “Taco Tuesday” available to all, Taco Bell has long been a force to be reckoned with by U.S. regulators against Wyoming-based Taco Johns. It seeks to compel the company to waive its trademark claims over

Too many companies and others mention “Taco Tuesday” for Taco John’s to have exclusive rights to the phrase, Taco Bell claims in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filing but of course that date is Tuesday.

It’s the latest development in a long-running feud over “Taco Tuesday,” which also saw NBA star LeBron James unsuccessfully try to trademark it in 2019.

“Taco Bell believes ‘Taco Tuesday’ is important to everyone’s Tuesday. Depriving someone of the word ‘Taco Tuesday’, whether it’s Taco Bell or someone who serves tacos to the world, is the world’s most It’s the same as taking the light of the sun itself out of,” Taco Bell’s application reads.

New York trademark attorney Emily Poehler said the key question is whether “Taco Tuesday” has succumbed to “Gericide” over the years. This is the term used when a word or phrase has become so widely used for a similar product (in this case a promotion) that the word or phrase is no longer associated with the trademark owner.

Well-known examples of generic drug victims include ‘cellophane’, ‘escalators’ and ‘trampolines’.

“Basically what this means is that you can’t trademark something ‘generic,'” Poehler said. “That means it has nothing to do with that particular source or product.”

The famous taco lover ran into this problem in 2019 when he tried to trademark “Taco Tuesday.” The Patent and Trademark Office deemed “Taco Tuesday” over-registered in a ruling that did not mention Taco Johns. “Familiar words” that are recognized as trademarks.

With more than 7,200 stores in the U.S. and internationally, Taco Bell — a Yum! is a brand chain alongside Pizza Hut, KFC and The Habit Burger Grill, and much larger than Cheyenne-based Taco John’s. Taco John’s, which began as his food truck more than 50 years ago, now has about 370 stores in his 23 states, mostly in the Midwest and West.

The chain’s relatively small size didn’t prevent it from enforcing “Taco Tuesday” as a trademark on a large scale, dating back to the 1980s. In 2019, the company sent letters to breweries just five blocks from its headquarters, warning them to stop brewing beer. Use “Taco Tuesday” to advertise taco trucks parked outside on Tuesdays.

This letter is just one example of Taco John telling restaurants around the world to stop hosting “Taco Tuesday”, as it takes a vigorous trademark defense to maintain a trademark claim. do not have.

Taco John’s has announced a new two-week Taco Tuesday promotion with a major pushback against Taco Bell’s allegations.

“We want to thank Taco Bell’s worthy competitors for reminding everyone that Taco Tuesday is best celebrated at Taco John’s,” said CEO Jim Creel. said in an emailed statement. “We love celebrating Taco Tuesday with taco lovers around the world, and Taco Bell fans can’t wait to see how flavorful and bold the tacos are at Taco John’s all month long! I even want to offer a special invitation for you to come see what you can taste and set yourself free.”

The filing is one of two for Taco Bell’s “Taco Tuesday.” One disputes Taco John’s claims to “Taco Tuesday” in 49 states, and a similar lawsuit challenges claims by New Jersey restaurants and bars to “Taco Tuesday” in that state. Both Taco John’s and Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar in Somerspoint, New Jersey, have been using Taco Tuesday for more than 40 years.

Minnesota’s Taco John franchisees have come up with “Taco Tuesdays,” where they sell two tacos for 99 cents on off-season days, Creel said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The Patent and Trademark Office approved Taco John’s “Taco Tuesday” trademark in 1989. Despite its many letters, Creel said the company has never had to go to court over the phrase.

He doesn’t feel too fooled by the much larger Taco Bell either.

“It’s okay. I’m kind of glad they noticed,” Creel said.

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