Taco Bell is petitioning the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to free up the phrase “Taco Tuesday.
Despite the fact that you may use the term “Taco Tuesday,” well, every Tuesday, it’s actually been trademarked for 34 years. The trademark has been owned by a restaurant chain called Taco John’s since 1989.
While it doesn’t prevent you from using it to tell your friends what you’ll be having for dinner, it does mean that businesses in 49 out of 50 states cannot use it to promote deals — despite that fact that Taco John’s actually only has locations in 23 states. Another company, called Gregory’s, owns the rights to it in New Jersey.
Taco Bell is looking to change that, and has written up a petition to cancel the the “Taco Tuesday” trademark in all 50 states.
“Taco Bell believes ’Taco Tuesday’ should belong to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos. In fact, the very essence of ‘Taco Tuesday’ is to celebrate the commonality amongst people of all walks of life who come together every week to celebrate something as simple, yet culturally phenomenal, as the taco,” Taco Bell writes in a press release. “How can anyone Live Más if they’re not allowed to freely say “Taco Tuesday?” It’s pure chaos.”
In the filing, Taco Bell does not seek damages or even want the trademark for themselves. They want it to be in the hands of what they call its “rightful owners”: Restaurants that want to use it and anyone who loves tacos.
Aside from “Taco Tuesday,” some other trademarks include the word “onesie,” while the Gerben Trademark Library says socialite Paris Hilton trademarked the phrase “That’s Hot” and the Trademark Search Company says the sound of Darth Vader breathing has been trademarked.