Taco Bell had been fighting for years to cancel the trademark for the term “Taco Tuesday” which was owned by rival chain Taco John’s. Taco Bell argued that the term had become a generic term to refer to promotions and meals centered around tacos on Tuesdays. They felt that “Taco Tuesday” should be freely usable by all restaurants without restrictions from trademark law.
In 2023, Taco Bell’s efforts finally paid off as they were able to settle the long-running dispute with Taco John’s. As part of the settlement, Taco John’s agreed to abandon their trademark registration for “Taco Tuesday.” This cleared the way for any restaurant to freely use the term without risk of legal issues. Taco Bell celebrated this as a big win that would “liberate” the phrase so that customers could “Live Más” and “freely say ‘Taco Tuesday.'”
The settlement brought an end to a dispute that had been ongoing for several years. Taco Bell had first filed a petition with the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2023 to cancel the registration. They argued that “‘Taco Tuesday’ should be freely available to all” who wanted to promote or discuss tacos on Tuesdays. The Trademark Office agreed, finding that the term had become too generic to be exclusively trademarkable. However, Taco John’s still maintained the trademark until agreeing to the settlement.
With the settlement reached in 2023, any restaurant is now free to promote “Taco Tuesday” deals and menus without the risk of legal challenge from Taco John’s. This was the outcome that Taco Bell had been seeking to allow restaurants and customers to freely build excitement and traditions around “Taco Tuesday.” It’s unclear if this will significantly impact Taco John’s business, but it does allow Taco Bell greater flexibility in marketing themselves.