An unlikely champion emerges in the battle to free "Taco Tuesday"

Originally published at: An unlikely champion emerges in the battle to free "Taco Tuesday" | Boing Boing


Ain’t no one called Taco John gonna tell me I can’t have Taco Tuesday.


Who exactly is supposed to be the “champion” in this story? Copyright law has it’s issues, but I can’t really get behind a shitty mega-corp and it’s army of lawyers seeking to revoke the long-held IP rights of a much smaller business, even if they claim they are doing it to help everyone. We all know exactly how altruistic corporate lawyers are.


Yah, it’s hard to see anyone to root for in this story, honestly. Taco John’s, though they were a little belligerent about it, were seemingly doing what the law requires- defending their trademark. If you didn’t defend it, you forfeit it, that’s how trademark law works.


It does make me feel good that Taco John’s, who has historically bad tacos, is being challenged by another place that serves janky-@ss tacos, but only slightly better tacos than Taco John’s. It’s a race to the bottom and nobody really wins in this taco war, much like global thermonuclear war.


it’s ridiculous that Taco John’s can claim a trademark on a phrase that it didn’t invent. The first known use of the phrase “Taco Tuesday” was an ad by the Snow White Drive In in South Dakota’s Rapid City Journal a decade before Taco John’s claimed to have invented it.


There are lots of trademarks where the owner of the trademark didn’t invent the phrase. Trademarks have a very different purpose from copyrights and patents and do not indicate invention of anything. Copyrights and patents protect artistic works and useful things that people create originally (or invent). A trademark is simply a way to have something to identify a commercial product or service so that consumers know who makes it. So if you see a Swoosh on a pair of sneakers, you know they’re from Nike and not Walmart. If you let anyone use a Swoosh, then the Swoosh would be useless in identifying the maker of the sneaker.

As far as phrases and slogans go, same thing. So Taco Bell had at one time (maybe they still do) “Run For the Border.” So you knew if you saw that on a print ad, it was Taco Bell and not Taco John. So the question here is if Taco Tuesday is unique enough to be protectable in that manner, not whether Taco John invented the phrase. Although the use of the phrase prior to Taco John taking out the trademark could certainly undermine their case.


No one asked taco bell to liberate my bowels either but here we are I guess

Hidden vulgarity


One thing that you have to establish in IP law is that you’ve managed to protect your trademark consistently. As the classic example goes, Kleenex had to ensure that kleenex didn’t become synonymous with tissues. Same goes for Xerox and printers.
The real problem with the ‘Taco Tuesday’ claim is that the phrase is so watered-down, can Taco John’s really claim that it associates with them at all? If I were Taco Bell, I’d just commission a widescale survey asking peoples’ familiarity with ‘Taco Tuesday’ and then their familiarity selecting actual taco chains. Then get people to identify the brand most connected with “Taco Tuesday”.

I think you’d find that almost nobody associates Taco Tuesday with Taco John’s.

(Speaking of which, does anyone have the phone number for Taco Bell’s counsel, because I have a deal for them)



I think the only place I’ve ever heard it associated with them is suits.


Now I need an aspirin. Might as well wash it down with a coke.

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you would think he is the one guy who has the authority to tell you that. he doesn’t have skin – he has a crispy masa shell. beware.

Sorry to be that guy…

This is trademark law, not copyright law.

This is a prompt to see what image a Gen AI engine will produce. A hard shell taco sitting on the toilet?

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fortunately, either way it’s completely unenforceable, so the public wins no matter what.

I was kinda thinking of a taco cruising around trying to solicit a prostitute… is that just me?

If you aren’t blessed to have experienced Taco Johns in their heyday, and only have that other place nearby, you are unfortunate. Their Potato Ole’s (seasoned tater tots) are like crack. Their taco tuesday campaign in the 80s/90s was ‘two tacos, 99 cents’ and I can still sing the whole jingle. Their other famous deal–probably still around–is ‘six pack and a pound’: 6 tacos and a pound of ole’s. It was so economical you could afford two to feed your whole crew.


That works too! To each our own, as they say.

Waitaminute… two tacos for 99 cents… isn’t that from Jack in the Box? Back in the day, I could throw a heavy munch for five bucks after the bars closed with that crunchy, deep fried taco goodness!

Has Taco Tuesday become so commonplace that it can be commercially celebrated as such?

Not in Norway, where the Friday taco has been a tradition for the past few decades.

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