Taco Bell Wins the Battle to 'Liberate' Trademark Held on Slogan by Rival Company

Taco Bell "claimed" the term Taco Tuesday, following an announcement by competitor Taco John's to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) of its intent to relinquish its federal Taco Tuesday trademark in 49 states.

The fast-food behemoth, boasting $2 billion in annual revenue, lodged a request in May with the USPTO to rescind the trademark. The current trademark is owned by Taco John's across 49 states and Gregory’s Bar in Somers Point, New Jersey, which possesses the rights in New Jersey.

As part of a promotional campaign, Taco Bell made public its requests to revoke the Taco Tuesday trademarks, asserting its goal to "liberate the phrase for restaurants nationwide."

"Taco Bell is not trying to take over the trademark. Quite the opposite–Taco Bell is trying to get rid of the trademark registrations," the fast-food restaurant said in a press release. "Taco Bell believes that all across the nation should be able to celebrate Taco Tuesday, without fear of consequences. This is why Taco Bell has sought to cancel the trademark registrations and free Taco Tuesday for all."

Promotional assets and numerous petitions associated with Taco Bell's "Liberation Of ‘Taco Tuesday’" campaign claim that nullifying the trademark registrations tied to the phrase will benefit local eateries and taco vendors. They suggest this action will prevent Taco John’s and Gregory’s Restaurant & Bar from issuing cease-and-desist notices or potentially filing lawsuits should the phrase be used for commercial intents.

The catchy slogan is now open for use in every state, with the exception of New Jersey.

Gregory Gregory, co-owner of Gregory’s Bar, communicated to Reuters that he had no intention of relinquishing his trademark. He expressed his surprise at Taco John's decision to give up their mark so quickly.

The New Jersey-based restaurant, established in 1946, began using the phrase in 1979 to boost sales. This small enterprise trademarked Taco Tuesday in 1981, later safeguarding its trademark against Taco John’s, as per Smith & Hopen, a patent and trademark law firm located in Oldsmar, Florida.

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