Who Owns The Rights To 'Taco Tuesday'?

Taco Bell is fighting to get the “Taco Tuesday” trademark to become public domain, but the trademark is currently held by the Wyoming-based chain Taco John’s.

Taco Bell filed a petition on Tuesday with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to cancel the trademark. The chain argues that the phrase “should freely be available to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos.”

Currently, the use of the phrase “potentially subjects Taco Bell and anyone else who wants to share tacos with the world to the possibility of legal action or angry letters if they say ‘Taco Tuesday’ without the express permission from [Taco John’s],” according to the filing.

The owner of a Taco John’s in Minnesota is said to have coined the term in the early 1980s. “He was just trying to drive sales on a slow day,” Billie Jo Waara, the chief marketing officer at Taco John’s, told Priceonomics. “He called it ‘Taco Twosday.’ He sold two tacos for 99 cents. It was a twofer deal.”

The innovation turned the restaurant’s slowest day into a busy one. Taco John’s got the trademark in 1989. The trademark is good in every state except New Jersey, where Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar has held that trademark since 1982.

It’s unclear whether Taco John’s claim on “Taco Tuesday” will hold against the latest challenge, since there’s nothing specific to Taco John’s about it. The phrase is so well used that a website aggregates dozens of such deals in Houston and San Diego.

Next story loading loading..