‘Taco Tuesday’ Lawsuit Takes a Bite Of Wyoming-based Taco John’s
Say "adios" to Taco John's 'Taco Tuesday' trademark. As of Tuesday, July 18, the Cheyenne, Wyoming-based chain has abandoned the trademark in the wake of a lawsuit filed by rival food chain Taco Bell.
The saga of the 'Taco Tuesday' battle began in May when Taco Bell filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Taco Bell painted the suit as a liberation movement to "free Taco Tuesday for everyone." The restaurant giant, which has over 7,200 restaurants in the United States, pulled out all the stops - going so far as to recruit NBA star Lebron James into the fight.
Taco Bell launched a liberation campaign featuring Lebron, releasing a commercial called "Taco Bleep" designed to highlight the "absurdity" of the trademark. Lebron said in a statement by Taco Bell that “‘Taco Tuesday’ is a tradition that everyone should be able to celebrate. All restaurants, all families, all businesses – everybody,” said Lebron James. He added that Taco Tuesday was a "celebration," one which could not be owned or trademarked.
According to Reuters, Taco John's abandoned the trademark for economic reasons. CEO Jim Creel gave a statement on the matter, saying, "We’ve always prided ourselves on being the home of Taco Tuesday, but paying millions of dollars to lawyers to defend our mark just doesn't feel like the right thing to do."
Taco John's has owned the copyright to 'Taco Tuesday' in every state (except New Jersey) since 1989, a remarkable legacy the restaurant maintained for forty years. The trademark has appeared in commercials, radio jingles, and billboard campaigns in the company's locations spanning 23 states to date.
Creel, a veteran of Taco John's for over two decades, added that at its core, the folks of Taco John's are "lovers, not fighters." The Press Release by Taco John's illustrates relinquishing of the 'Taco Tuesday' trademark as a goodwill action in the spirit of "sharing."
In light of the settlement, Taco John's has elected to "contribute $100 per location in our system to restaurant employees with children who are battling a health crisis, death or natural disaster."
Creel went on to challenge Taco Bell (citing them as "our litigious competitors") to join the donation movement.