Taco Bell petitions to liberate ‘Taco Tuesday’ trademark held by Taco John’s

·2 min read

Taco Bell says it has petitioned the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to make “Taco Tuesday” useable by all. Its competitor Taco John’s, which primarily has locations throughout the Midwest, has held the trademark on that slogan since 1989.

The fast food giant contended on its website that “‘Taco Tuesday’ should belong to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos.” According to Taco Bell — which seeks to “liberate” the catchphrase — “when tacos win, we all win.”

A taco aficionado suggested on Twitter that Taco Bell, which operates 7,200 restaurants worldwide, should make Taco John’s an offer if they want to purchase the phrase that their much smaller rival obtained in “a brilliant business move” 34 years ago. To the recommendation, Taco John’s responded, “THANK YOU.”

Brooklyn-based intellectual property law attorney Emily Poler told the Daily News by email it’s too early to know how Taco Bell’s challenge will play out.

“Based solely on the petition, it sounds like Taco John’s has actively policed its trademark. That should help it avoid cancellation,” she said. “However, Taco Bell’s petition references a survey that found that approximately 86% of respondents didn’t associate ‘Taco Tuesday’ with Taco John’s, and that likely favors Taco Bell in its attempt to cancel the mark.”

“Feeling chaotic... taco tuesday,” Taco Bell tweeted in lowercase letters Tuesday morning.

This is certainly not the first time that competing restaurant chains have gone head-to-head over trademarks.

In April, Sweetgreen agreed to rename its “Chipotle Burrito Bowl” to resolve a trademark infringement suit from Mexican giant Chipotle, while Subway tried unsuccessfully to stop other restaurants from using the term “Footlong” in 2010. According to Insider, McDonald’s has been met with mixed results in defending its “Mc” prefix over the years.