Restaurant Association Looks To Take Back Taco Tuesday For The People

from the nacho-trademark dept

You may have noticed something of a steady stream of posts from us on the topic of a "Taco Tuesday" trademark held by the chain Taco John's. Taco John's has used this descriptive trademark to bully all kinds of other restaurants into not advertising their own taco Tuesday offerings, while also leaving alone the vast majority of small purveyors of tacos on Tuesdays. The ubiquity of Taco Tuesdays is mostly what has everyone confused as to why Taco John's is acting like Taco Jerks: the term is descriptive and, even if it weren't, fully generic at this point.

It was enough to, and I can't believe I'm saying this, get LeBron James involved. You see, just like dragons, LeBron loves tacos. And he likes promoting his own consumption of tacos on Tuesdays and he very much thinks that everyone should be able to use the phrase as they please. To that end, LeBron took to the Trademark office pretending to want to trademark "Taco Tuesday" for himself when he was actually hoping to get denied due to the generic and descriptive nature of the mark... which is exactly what happened. We said then that it was now only a matter of time before someone decided to go on the offensive to take Taco Tuesday back by inviting Taco John's to issue a threat so that this hero group could point to the Trademark Office's denial of LeBron's trademark, with the ultimate goal being invalidating the Taco John's trademark.

Well, that has now happened. The Orange County Restaurant Association has gone all in, going so far as to by the tacotuesday.com domain.

Now joining the effort is California’s Orange County Restaurant Association, which recently bought the domain TacoTuesday.com. Why OCRA? Well, its members know a thing or two about a good taco—and the domain presents a great marketing opportunity for them, founder and president Pamela Waitt told the Orange County Business Journal.

“That’s part of our agenda here, is to really illuminate the Orange County restaurant industry, which can be challenging when you’re sandwiched between Los Angeles and San Diego,” Waitt said.

But she notes that there’s also a bigger goal at play: OCRA hopes to open the phrase up to everyone else, creating a resource for taco culture in general. In a news release, Waitt characterized the group’s role as “peacemaker.”

OCRA can characterize itself however they like, but this is pretty clearly a shot across the bow at Taco John's, practically begging the chain to issue a threat or file suit. If that occurs, OCRA would likely seek declaratory judgement that its use does not infringe due to the generic nature of the trademark, which would get the ball rolling on invalidating the trademark.

The association plans to relaunch the website next spring with 500 listings of taco shops in five states, providing the listings for free to restaurants. OCRA says it will make the domain “an umbrella brand for taco events, social media activations, media tours, guest chef interviews, and an opportunity to foster strategic partnerships, corporate citizenship, philanthropic giving, and beyond.”

None of which really requires having a domain name of tacotuesday.com, except if the organization wants to promote itself through the news, poke Taco John's in the eye, or both.

So maybe, just maybe, our long national taco nightmare will come to an end soon.

Filed Under: generic, taco tuesday, trademark
Companies: ocra, orange county restaurant association, taco johns


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