Trademark Law

Taco Bell seeks to cancel trademarks for 'Taco Tuesday' in 'liberation' campaign

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Taco Bell filed two petitions to cancel trademark registrations for the phrase “Taco Tuesday” last week while touting its “liberation” campaign.

The petitions seek to cancel trademarks registered by Gregory Hotel Inc. and Spicy Seasonings, which operates the Taco John’s restaurant franchise, according to Bloomberg Law and a May 16 press release.

The Gregory Hotel trademark covers only the state of New Jersey, while Spicy Seasonings has registered the mark in 49 other states, according to an FAQ page.

Taco Bell is not seeking damages or trademark rights in the “Taco Tuesday” phrase.

Both petitions (here and here) have a preface that begins with nearly identical wording.

“People like tacos on Tuesdays,” the preface to the Taco John’s petition says. “They just do. It’s even fun to say: ‘Taco Tuesday.’ Tacos have the unique ability to bring people together and bring joy to their lives on an otherwise mediocre day of the week. But since 1989, entities associated with registrant have owned a federal trademark registration for ‘Taco Tuesday.’ Not cool.”

The petitions say “Taco Tuesday” has become a generic phrase. A recent survey commissioned by Taco Bell shows that 86% of consumers nationwide think that it is a common name not associated with a particular company, the petitions say.

Jim Creel, CEO of Taco John’s, commented in a statement to Bloomberg Law.

“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,” Creel said.

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