Just trying to enjoy some meat and tortilla goodness? You could be hearing from Taco John’s lawyers.
Wildly popular throughout the U.S., “Taco Tuesday” specials can be found at a myriad of restaurants from mom-and-pop taquerias to big-name brands. However, for the past 30 years, 400-unit quick-service restaurant chain Taco John’s has owned the trademark of the phrase. Akin to when Kylie Jenner tried to trademark the name “Kylie”, the legal ownership of “Taco Tuesday” reminds us that there are in fact countless words and phrases that exist within the common American vernacular that are trademarked. For decades, Taco John’s has been quietly defending its claim to the phrase with “hundreds” of cease-and-desist letters to competitors.
Most recently, Taco John’s contacted Freedom’s Edge Brewing Company, a brewery close to the brand’s headquarters in Wyoming which had adopted the phrase. “We certainly appreciate our fellow community member’s enthusiasm for tacos on Tuesday and the term is often used inadvertently,” said a letter from Taco John’s reported by Eater. “However, it is still extremely important to us to protect our rights in this mark.”
“It’s kind of asinine to me think that one particular taco seller, or taco maker, would have monopoly rights over ‘Taco Tuesday,’” said Seattle-based lawyer Michael Atkins to the Associated Press. Still, Taco John’s is steadfast in its defense of the trademark. The brand’s chief marketing officer Billie Jo Waara has gone so far as to say that it is part of the brand’s “DNA”.