Rose M. Welch
points us to the news that Mexican food chain Taco John's has threatened a small Oklahoma
Mexican restaurant, called the Iguana Mexican Grill, for daring to use the phrase "Taco Tuesday" to describe their $1 taco promotion on (you guessed it!) Tuesdays. It seems like "Taco Tuesday" is descriptive, meaning it shouldn't deserve a trademark, but you know how these things go. Taco John's claims that it's used the phrase "Taco Tuesday" since 1982 and held a registered trademark on it since 1989.
Amusingly, the article notes that a totally different restaurant, Tortilla Flats, based in California appears to hold the domain TacoTuesday.com
, though it appears to be more of a banquet hall/weddings/receptions type of place. That place claims it's used the phrase since 1976 and insists that it
holds the trademark on the term. A quick trip to the USPTO search suggests Tortilla Flats may think it holds the trademark, but it does not. A little investigating finds that the owner of Tortilla Flats did, in fact, apply for a trademark on Taco Tuesday (a few times), but it was not granted, and is considered abandoned.
It's also worth noting that, for whatever reason, Taco Johns seems to own "Taco Tuesday" as a trademark in 49 states. In New Jersey, the Taco Tuesday trademark is held by Gregory's Hotel in Somers Point, New Jersey. A few others have also tried to register the trademark and failed, though one (mostly) Florida-based chain, Tijuana Flats, was successful in getting a trademark on Taco Tuesdaze, instead. Now, that strikes me as being more trademarkable. Taco Tuesday, by itself, really does seem descriptive. At least with Tuesdaze, there's something distinctive about the mark.
The whole thing seems pretty pointless. Taco John's doesn't even have any locations in Oklahoma and the likelihood of confusion seems incredibly low. Even if they were in direct competition, it's hard to believe anyone would accidentally go to one of these places for Taco Tuesday, believing they were really going to the other.