Editor's note: This story has been updated to include a response from Taco John's.
Taco Bell is fighting to “liberate” Taco Tuesday. The company announced today it has filed legal petitions to cancel the federal trademark registrations for “Taco Tuesday” via the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The company says it believes “Taco Tuesday” should belong to “all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos.”
“In fact, the very essence of ‘Taco Tuesday’ is to celebrate the commonality amongst people of all walks of life who come together every week to celebrate something as simple, yet culturally phenomenal, as the taco. How can anyone Live Más if they’re not allowed to freely say ‘Taco Tuesday?’ It’s pure chaos,” the company wrote in a statement.
The company is not seeking damages or trademark rights, but rather the ability for usage of a common term via the cancelation of trademark registrations; meaning no one restaurant will be able to claim exclusive rights to Taco Tuesday. Taco Bell said it wants “Taco Tuesday” to be free for all restaurants and vendors to use the term without fear of a cease-and-desist letter or lawsuit.
Notably, Taco John’s owns the Taco Tuesday registration in 49 states, while “a small business” called Gregory’s owns the Taco Tuesday registration in New Jersey. Taco Bell is seeking to cancel Taco John’s registration and has also filed a petition to cancel Gregory’s registration covering New Jersey.
“This is the only way to achieve liberation in all 50 states, which is Taco Bell’s sole objective behind this effort,” the company said.
Taco John's responded to the effort Tuesday, stating, "Taco John's has proudly owned the Taco Tuesday trademark since 1989." The company also rolled out a special Taco Tuesday deal today that includes $2 for two tacos. The offer will be available through May 31 for rewards members.
“I’d like to thank our worthy competitors at Taco Bell for reminding everyone that Taco Tuesday is best celebrated at Taco John’s,” Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel said in a statement. “We love celebrating Taco Tuesday with taco lovers everywhere, and we even want to offer a special invitation to fans of Taco Bell to liberate themselves by coming by to see how flavorful and bold tacos can be at Taco John’s all month long.”
Creel went on to call Taco Bell a bully for bringing this fight to light.
“When it comes right down to it, we’re lovers, not fighters, at Taco John’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. If ‘living más’ means filling the pockets of Taco Bell’s army of lawyers, we’re not interested," he said.
Once processed, Taco Bell’s petitions will be available on the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s website. An excerpt from the company’s legal petitions can also be found online.
The company has also created a “Freeing Taco Tuesday” petition on Change.org and will conduct an AMA on Reddit May 22 to share more information, including about upcoming activities in the “liberation journey.”
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]