Taco Bell challenged the trademark in court in May. This is why the ruling was made.
Taco John’s, a regional restaurant chain, has said that it will no longer fight to protect its trademarked word “Taco Tuesday.” Instead, it will use the money it would have spent on the fight to help charities.
The decision came after Taco Bell said in May that it had made a legal petition to “liberate” the trademark for “common sense for usage of a common term.”
Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel said in a July 18 statement, “We’ve always been proud to be 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.”
“As we’ve said before, at Taco John’s we love, not fight. So, in that spirit, we’ve chosen to start sharing Taco Tuesday by giving $100 to restaurant employees with children who are dealing with a health crisis, death, or natural disaster,” Creel said. “And we’re asking our litigious competitors and other brands that love tacos to join us in helping the people who serve our favorite food to guests across the country.”
Taco John’s also said that it will give $40,000 to the nonprofit group Children of Restaurant Employees. This group says that it is “dedicated to serving food and beverage operations employees with children to provide financial relief when either the employee, their spouse, or their child faces a life-altering health crisis, injury, death, or natural disaster.”
Creel then fired a kind of saucy shot at Taco Bell and other big and small taco chains.
“Let’s see if our friends at Taco Bell are willing to ‘liberate’ themselves from their army of lawyers by giving money back to restaurant families instead,” he said. “We’re challenging them to match our offer of $100 per restaurant, which is about $720,000. That’s less than they’d have to spend in court to get the mark.
“We also want Del Taco, Taco Bueno, Taco Cabana, Jack in the Box, and mom-and-pop taco shops all over the country that plan to use Taco Tuesday in the future to join us in this movement to support working families and donate to CORE.”
Taco John’s choice made Taco Bell very happy.
“This is a win for everyone who loves tacos,” Taco Bell CEO Mark King told told in a statement. “Taco John’s choice to join the movement and free Taco Tuesday means that many businesses, restaurants, and taco vendors of all sizes can now freely embrace, celebrate, and promote “Taco Tuesdays.”
But a celebration isn’t worth much if it doesn’t include respect and thought. Thank you to all the taco fans who fought with us, and thank you to Taco Johns for realizing what we’ve known all along: “When tacos win, we all win.”
In its May filing, Taco Bell said that registering “Taco Tuesday” as a trademark was unfair, and it even got NBA star LeBron James to help make the word available to everyone.
“Taco Tuesday” should belong to everyone who makes, sells, eats, and celebrates tacos, Taco Bell said. “How can anyone Live Más if they can’t say “Taco Tuesday” freely?” It’s a total mess.”
In its statement, Taco John’s also mentioned James, though it didn’t use his full name:
“Taco John’s also encourages well-known taco lover, Taco Bell spokesperson, and trademark owner LeB* Ja* to do his part by giving any fees he got from the latest multi-million-dollar Taco Tuesday ad campaign to CORE.”