Taco Tuesday Trademark Battle is OverNovember 3, 2023

The Gregory Hotel, Inc. in New Jersey –  the last holdout in the Taco Tuesday trademark dispute – has voluntarily surrendered its trademark registration.

Last May, Taco Bell filed a petition with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to cancel a trademark for Taco Tuesday that rival chain Taco John’s, and the Gregory Hotel, have held since 1989. Along with the petition, Taco Bell launched a nationwide public relations campaign for the cancelation of the trademark which featured a cheeky add starring LeBron James. In a commercial, LeBron repeatedly attempts to say the phrase “Taco Tuesday,” with the “Tuesday” bleeped out. By the end of the commercial, after stating that Taco Bell wants to free Taco Tuesday for all, LeBron states “no more trademark, no more bleeping starting right now” and freely shouts the un-censored phrase. Taco Bell asserted that Taco Tuesday is a common phrase that the public should be able to freely use without the possibility of legal action.

In July, Taco John’s conceded and expressly abandoned its trademark registration for the mark Taco Tuesday. Taco John’s had held the trademark for Taco Tuesday since 1989, in all US states except New Jersey. In New Jersey, the Gregory Hotel held the Taco Tuesday trademark. Gregory Hotel’s use of the mark preceded Taco John’s, but the Hotel’s registration was limited to New Jersey as the business is local to that state with no plans for expansion.

On October 24, 2023, the Gregory Hotel voluntarily surrendered its trademark, without public comment.

All restaurants, including Taco Bell, can now freely use the phrase Taco Tuesday. To celebrate, on November 21, Taco Bell is giving free Doritos Locos Tacos to the members of their loyalty program in New Jersey.

Julie L. Spieker is an Intellectual Property Attorney in the MVS Biotechnology & Chemical Practice Group as well as the Mechanical and Electrical Practice Group. To learn more, visit our MVS website , or contact Julie directly via email.

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