“Since 1989, ‘Taco Tuesday’ has been registered as a trademark, creating potential legal consequences for those that want to use the phrase,” the company said in an announcement.
The legal petitions ask a tribunal within the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel trademark registrations for the phrase owned by Gregory Hotel Inc. and Spicy Seasonings LLC, which operates the Taco John’s restaurant franchise.
The petitions argue that “Taco Tuesday” is a common phrase that can’t receive trademark protection.
“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,” Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel said in a statement.
Taco John’s obtained the registration for restaurant services in 1989 and Gregory Hotel obtained the registration in 2008, but limited only to the state of New Jersey.
“Taco Bell believes that tacos, just like the joy they bring, belong to everyone on any day,” the petitions said. “Ergo, ‘Taco Tuesday’ should belong to everyone.”
Taco Bell said that a survey it commissioned found that 86% of consumers nationwide believe that “Taco Tuesday” is a common name not associated with any particular company.
The phrase is “generic and informational,” which means it doesn’t function as a trademark that identifies the source of a product.
An attorney for Gregory Hotel didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
Pirkey Barber PLLC represents Taco Bell. Robinson Waters & O’Dorisio PC represents Spicy Seasonings. Richard L. Morris Esq. represents Gregory Hotel.
The cases are Taco Bell IP Holder LLC v. Gregory Hotel Inc., TTAB, No. 3621366, 5/16/23 and Taco Bell IP Holder LLC v. Spicy Seasonings LLC, TTAB, No. 1572589, 5/16/23.
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