Taco Bell is taking legal action to challenge Taco Tuesday trademarks held by Taco John’s and Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar.
Taco Bell and Trademark Issues
Taco Bell Corp., an American multinational fast food chain recognized for its Mexican-inspired cuisine, is contesting the “Taco Tuesday” trademark currently held by regional fast food competitor Taco John’s, and small business establishment in New Jersey called Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar.
Taco Bell, a subsidiary of the multibillion-dollar quick-service restaurant operator Yum! Brands, Inc., operates at over 7,200 locations throughout the United States. Their objective is to persuade the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to invalidate both Taco Tuesday trademarks, ultimately benefiting taco shops nationwide.
In a press release, the fast food chain announced that it has filed “legal petitions to liberate the phrase for restaurants nationwide” and it initiated a supplemental petition on change.org since April, which has nearly 100 signatures at the time of publication.
The marketing materials and multiple petitions associated with Taco Bell’s “Liberation Of ‘Taco Tuesday’” campaign to nullify the trademark registrations linked to the phrase would provide support to small-scale restaurants and taco vendors by preventing Taco John’s and Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar from issuing cease-and-desist letters or initiating lawsuits for the use of the phrase in business contexts.
It remains unclear whether Taco John’s or Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar have taken legal action to safeguard their Taco Tuesday trademarks, however, social media posts indicate that some restaurants used the tag line in the past and continue to do so.
Taco John’s International, Inc., a privately owned company headquartered in Cheyenne, Wyoming, obtained the Taco Tuesday trademark in 1989 in 49 states, excluding New Jersey.
While Taco John’s possesses the Taco Tuesday trademark in all states except New Jersey, the West-Mex chain has about 400 restaurants across 23 states, with most locations in the Midwest and Mountain regions.
Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar, in Somers Point New Jersey, started its operations in 1946 and introduced the Taco Tuesday phrase in 1979 to promote sales. The small business secured the Taco Tuesday trademark in 1981 and subsequently defended it against Taco John’s.
According to Taco Bell’s “Taco Tuesday Trademark FAQ” webpage, the fast food giant believes that Taco Tuesday is a “common” and “generic” term that should be accessible to all restaurants and taco vendors without restrictions.
Taco Bell expressed in its press release, “When tacos win, we all win.” Once processed, Taco Bell’s legal petition will become accessible on the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
This Isn’t The First Time
Taco Bell is not the only Mexican-inspired fast food chain embroiled in trademark debates this year. Last month, Chipotle Mexican Grill filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Sweetgreen after the fast-casual salad chain advertised a Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl with a font and color scheme that allegedly resembled Chipotle’s logo.
Sweetgreen resolved the lawsuit by renaming its burrito bowl, as reported by FOX Business on April 6.
Glen Bell, an American entrepreneur, founded Taco Bell in San Bernardino, California, in 1962, while Taco John’s was established in 1969 by U.S. Air Force veteran John Turner in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar, with a rich history, occupies a building constructed in 1908, according to information available on the restaurant’s “About Gregory’s” webpage.
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