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Taco Bell trying to cancel "Taco Tuesday"

May 16, 2023 - Economy & Business

- Fast-food giant Taco Bell filed legal petitions to “liberate” the trademark “Taco Tuesday” that a small competitor has owned since 1989.

Driving the news: Taco Bell announced today (a Tuesday) they are asking the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, part of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to cancel the trademark registration that Wyoming-based Taco John’s has owned for the last 34 years.

  • Taco Bell said the trademark has restricted restaurants nationwide from using the popular phrase and the company "believes 'Taco Tuesday' should belong to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos."

  • The company says it's not seeking any damages or a new trademark for the phrase.

Context: Taco John’s owns the Taco Tuesday registration in 49 states and a business called Gregory’s owns the registration in New Jersey, Taco Bell said.

  • Taco Bell said it has also filed a petition to cancel Gregory’s registration covering New Jersey.

  • Over the years, Taco John's lawyers have sent cease-and-desist letters to restaurants as well as media outlets for using the term.

  • A 2017 Vice article with the headline “This Chain Owns the Taco Tuesday Trademark, and It's Not Afraid to Sue You” talked about Taco John’s sending cease-and-desist letters even to those using the hashtag #TacoTuesday on Twitter.

What’s happening: After the larger chain’s announcement, Taco John CEO Jim Creel thanked Taco Bell for "reminding everyone that Taco Tuesday is best celebrated at Taco John’s."

  • Taco John's has nearly 400 restaurants in 23 states. Meanwhile, there are 7,200 Taco Bells in the U.S.

  • "But when a big, bad bully threatens to take away the mark our forefathers originated so many decades ago, well, that just rings hollow to us," Creel said in a statement. "If ‘living más’ means filling the pockets of Taco Bell’s army of lawyers, we’re not interested."

Word Mark TACO TUESDAYGoods and ServicesIC 043. US 100 101. G & S: Restaurant services. FIRST USE: 19790206. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19790206Standard Characters ClaimedMark Drawing Code(4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARKSerial Number77124322Filing DateMarch 7, 2007Current Basis1AOriginal Filing Basis1APublished for Opposition May 27, 2008Registration Number3621366Registration DateMay 19, 2009Owner(REGISTRANT) GREGORY HOTEL, INC. CORPORATION NEW JERSEY 900 SHORE ROAD SOMERS POINT NEW JERSEY 08244DisclaimerNO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE "TACO" APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWNType of MarkSERVICE MARKRegisterPRINCIPALAffidavit TextSECT 15. SECT 8 (6-YR). SECTION 8(10-YR) 20180615.Renewal1ST RENEWAL 20180615Other DataRegistration limited to the area comprising the State of New Jersey. Pursuant to concurrent use proceeding no. 94000972. Concurrent registration with Registration No. 1572589.Live/Dead IndicatorLIVE


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