Taco Bell Is Fighting For the Rights to 'Taco Tuesday' The popular phrase was trademarked in 1989 by a rival taco chain.

By Emily Rella

Getty Images
Doritos tacos are made at the Taco Bell Cantina in Brookline, MA.

Taco Bell is getting heated over trademark rights so the company can fully Live Más.

The phrase "Taco Tuesday" is widely used in a variety of manners, from local restaurant promotions to dinner parties. But it turns out one company actually owns the rights to print and use the phrase commercially. That honor goes to the Midwest-based fast-food chain Taco John's, which has owned the trademark since 1989.

This means if Taco Bell wants to roll out a promotion, advertisement, or any sort of branding that says "Taco Tuesday," they could face legal action from the rival taco chain if they do not ask explicit permission.

On (of course) Tuesday, Taco Bell officially filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office asking for the phrase "Taco Tuesday" to be "freely available to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos."

LLiberate Taco Tuesday Court FIling via Taco Bell

The brand even made a cheeky play at the new lawsuit on social media, posting the catchy phrase on Twitter.

The phrase originated at one Taco John's restaurant as a part of a promotional deal where it would sell two tacos for 99 cents in order to increase revenues on Tuesdays, which were historically slow days for the company (originally spelled as 'Taco Twosday'). It then expanded to other franchisees and was eventually trademarked.

"When it comes right down to it, we're lovers, not fighters, at Taco John's," Taco John's CEO Jim Creel told Entrepreneur via email. "But when a big, bad bully threatens to take away the mark our forefathers originated so many decades ago, well, that just rings hollow to us. If 'living más' means filling the pockets of Taco Bell's army of lawyers, we're not interested."

Taco John's has 40 days to respond to Taco Bell's filing. The decision can take upwards of two years to be made.

"Taco Bell seeks no damages or trademark rights in 'Taco Tuesday.' It simply seeks common sense for usage of a common term," Taco Bell said in a release regarding the legal documentation. "In filing the legal petitions, Taco Bell is honoring people's right to come together and celebrate the joys of tacos, on Tuesdays and every other day."

Yum! Brands was up 23.7% in a one-year period as of Tuesday afternoon.

Wavy Line
Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

Editor's Pick

A Father Decided to Change When He Was in Prison on His Son's Birthday. Now His Nonprofit Helps Formerly Incarcerated Applicants Land 6-Figure Jobs.
A Teen Turned His Roblox Side Hustle Into a Multimillion-Dollar Company — Now He's Working With Karlie Kloss and Elton John
3 Mundane Tasks You Should Automate to Save Your Brain for the Big Stuff
The Next Time Someone Intimidates You, Here's What You Should Do
5 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health and Regulate Your Nervous System for Sustainable Success

Related Topics


Working Remote? These Are the Biggest Dos and Don'ts of Video Conferencing

As more and more businesses go remote, these are ways to be more effective and efficient on conference calls.

Growing a Business

The Best Way to Run a Business Meeting

All too often, meetings run longer than they should and fail to keep attendees engaged. Here's how to run a meeting the right way.

Business News

Amazon Might Soon Be Adding Ads to Prime Video

The company wants to generate more ad revenue for its streaming service.


How to Identify and Handle Toxic Business Leadership

Toxic business leaders are the danger of modern corporate life. Unfortunately, they may hide behind good reputations. Let's discuss four signs of toxic leadership and strategies to deal with it.


'Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch' Is Back Open for Business!

Check out this preview of season nine of our hit show "Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch." Big ideas and big money are on the line!


5 Simple Tweaks for Better Email Deliverability

Email success starts in the inbox. Learn five easy ways to tweak your strategy so you can achieve better email deliverability.