The Washington Post reports that Taco Bell has gone to court to invalidate competitor Taco John's 1989 trademark on the term "Taco Tuesday."
"The Registration 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 express permission from Registrant – simply for pursuing happiness on a Tuesday," the company said in the filing. "This violates an American ideal: 'the pursuit of happiness.'"
Taco Bell has more than 7,200 locations in the U.S. and about 1,000 restaurants outside the US. Taco John's has about 400 locations in 23 states.
The Post writes that "in response to the petition, Taco John's rolled out a two-week long Taco Tuesday deal offering two tacos for $2. '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.
Creel added: "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."
The Post notes that Taco Bell said that it "seeks no damages; it simply seeks reason and common sense."
- KC's View:
Now, I'm not a lawyer, nor do I have any expertise in trademark law.
But I'd like to suggest that common sense dictates that if Taco Bell owned the trademark on "Taco Tuesday," and not Taco John's, it would be fighting tooth-and-nail to hold onto its trademark rights, defining "reason and common sense" in somewhat different terms.
I hope the courts respond to this suit with a two-word response: "Nice try." (Or maybe, "Buen intento.")
I am a little concerned, however - I had no idea that when we had Taco Tuesday around the Coupe household, we were in violation of trademark law. Yikes.