Who Patented Taco Tuesday? The Surprising Story Behind the Trademark Battle

Who Patented Taco Tuesday?

Taco Tuesday is a popular phrase that many people use to enjoy tacos on a weekly basis.

But did you know that this phrase is actually trademarked by a small taco chain from Wyoming?

And that Taco Bell, the giant of the taco industry, is trying to cancel that trademark and free the phrase for everyone?

In this article, I will tell you the surprising story behind the trademark battle over Taco Tuesday, and how it involves a New Jersey bar, a basketball star, and a lot of legal drama.

Who Patented Taco Tuesday Courtesy:RestrauntOnline
Who Patented Taco Tuesday

How Taco Tuesday Became a Trademark

The origin of Taco Tuesday is not very clear, but some sources claim that it dates back to 1933, when a restaurant in Montana advertised a special deal on tacos every Tuesday.

However, the phrase was not officially registered as a trademark until 1989, when Taco John’s, a fast-food chain based in Wyoming, obtained the rights to use it nationwide, except in New Jersey.

Taco John’s claims that it started using the phrase in 1979, when one of its franchisees in Minnesota came up with the idea of offering two tacos for 99 cents on a slow day of the week.

The promotion was a hit, and soon Taco John’s began to send cease-and-desist letters to other restaurants that used the phrase without its permission.

Why Taco Bell Wants to Cancel the Trademark

Taco Bell, the largest taco chain in the world, has never been a fan of Taco John’s trademark. 

In fact, in 2019, it launched a campaign to “liberate” the phrase from Taco John’s, arguing that it belongs to all who make, sell, eat, and celebrate tacos.

Taco Bell filed a petition with the US Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the trademark, saying that it is a generic term that nobody should have exclusive rights to.

Taco Bell also enlisted the help of LeBron James, the famous basketball player who often posts videos of his family’s Taco Tuesday tradition on Instagram.

James, who also tried and failed to trademark the phrase for himself in 2019, appeared in a TV ad for Taco Bell, asking “How can someone own Taco Tuesday?”.

Taco Bell also encouraged its customers to sign a petition to support its cause, and promised to keep them updated on the legal process through its social media pages.


Taco Tuesday is more than just a catchy phrase.

It is a trademark that has sparked a legal battle between two taco chains, and a cultural phenomenon that has inspired millions of people to enjoy tacos every week.

The outcome of the trademark dispute is still uncertain, but one thing is clear: Taco Tuesday is here to stay.

Whether you prefer Taco John’s, Taco Bell, Gregory’s Bar, or your own homemade tacos, you can always celebrate Taco Tuesday

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