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Taco John's has given up its 'Taco Tuesday' trademark after a battle with Taco Bell

A Taco Bell restaurant stands along a Queens street on July 21, 2021 in New York City.
Spencer Platt
Getty Images

The phrase "Taco Tuesday" is now free to use after a taco chain restaurant relinquished its trademark on the popular phrase.

Taco John's has held the trademark since 1989, in all U.S. states except New Jersey. Taco Bell filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to have it reversed, arguing that no one should have the rights to a common phrase.

In a statement released Tuesday, Taco John's conceded and said they are "lovers, not fighters."

"We've always prided ourselves on being 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," Taco John's CEO Jim Creel said.

"Best taco tuesday ever... for now," Taco Bell tweeted.

Gregory Hotel, Inc. holds the "Taco Tuesday" trademark in New Jersey.

Taco John's is asking Taco Bell to match its $100-per-restaurant donation to the nonprofit Children of Restaurant Employees, or CORE.

"Taco Tuesday wouldn't be possible without those in the service industry who are behind the scenes, crafting tacos for us all to enjoy," it said.

Taco John's has about 400 locations in 23 states, while Taco Bell has more than 7,200 locations in the U.S. and about 1,000 restaurants across 30 countries internationally.

NBA superstar LeBron James petitioned to trademark Taco Tuesday in 2019, but was denied, and has since appeared in a Taco Bell commercial advocating for universal use of the phrase.

Taco John's, which censored James' name in its press release, also urged him to donate the money he received from being a Taco Bell spokesperson to CORE.

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Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
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