The Battle for the Taco Tuesday Trademark Ends

Taco Tuesday Trademark and Cultural Misappropriation of IP


By Rachelle Mulumba, Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property (Originally published on

It seems the fight to “free” the Taco Tuesday trademark has officially come to an end with Taco John’s, the fast food chain and original rights holders, vowing to abandon the mark last week. This comes following a coordinated marketing campaign effort from super chain Taco Bell and help from basketball superstar Lebron James to liberate the phrase from its’ strict owner thus making Taco Tuesday free for anybody to use. James even starred in a commercial jokingly referring to it as “Taco Bleep” – which Taco Bell has said is “highlighting the absurdity of ‘Taco Tuesday’ being ‘trademarked’ and encouraging the taco community to join together in support of the liberation movement.”

Taco John’s cited lack of funds for lawyers and litigation needed to defend the mark as reason for their eventual capitulation. Above the Law remarked that for Taco John’s it was: “…never fun as a trademark owner to face a challenge from a better-resourced adversary. For context, Taco Bell has more locations, just in Ohio, than Taco John’s has nationwide. Add in the marketing collaboration it has with one of the world’s most recognized athletes, Lebron James, and it is no surprise that things were looking good for Taco Bell’s legal challenge — both on the merits and in the court of public opinion.”

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