Facebook Forced A Mom-And-Pop Taco Restaurant To Change Its Name Because It Was Too Similar To The Social Media Network
There are countless of taco shops in the United States, which means most try to stand out from each other. Whether it’s a cheesy gimmick or cool name, it comes with the territory of operating a taco restaurant. For Tacobook, a small taco business in Everett, Washington, their name and brand inspiration came from one social media network that you may have heard of, Facebook.
Yes, that Facebook. Everything from the name, it’s blue color, lowercase font and logo bared a striking similarity to the social media giant. But three years after Tacobook opened it’s doors, Facebook finally came knocking and told the mom-and-pop restaurant that is must rebrand or face legal trouble.
Back in April, Tacobook received a legal notice from a Beverly Hills law firm citing the business for “unauthorized use of Facebook intellectual property.”
Rigoberto Bastida, 40 and his wife, Deisy Ramos, 31, both spent years saving up money to finally open up Tacobook. It was a dream come true and the restaurant quickly became a favorite among locals and college students for its authenticity and great prices. In the three years since it opened, Tacobook grew from five tables to 10.
Archie Catindig is such a huge fan of the tacos that he makes the 25-minute drive from Lake Stevens to Everett every weekend just to get some tacos.
“Oh, man, just the tenderness of the meat,” Catindig told local newspaper The Herald. “Especially the prices. You can’t beat the price and you can’t beat the tacos.”
In April, just as business was doing well, came a letter from a law firm claiming that Bastida had unauthorized use of Facebook’s intellectual property. “Facebook must take steps to protect consumers from confusion and prevent dilution of the Facebook Marks and brand,” the letter read.
At first, he didn’t even think the letter was real and considered it a scam. But when he asked a customer with legal experience to take a look at it, Bastida realized this could mean big trouble.
He quickly responded amidst fears that his business could face severe legal trouble. “I said, ‘I didn’t do this with a bad intention,’” he said he told the law firm. “I never thought you’d be offended by it.”
Bastida says there was never any intent to copy or profit off of the Facebook name, rather he just wanted a store name that customers could say in other languages and could be easily recognized.
“A simple name that everybody can read and remember,” Bastida told The Herald. “I got a lot of reviews and comments. A lot of people take pictures. They take their selfies with the logos.”
Tacobook would have to quickly rebrand itself to dissociate itself from Facebook.
Bastida and Ramos quickly had to change everything about their restaurant. From restaurant sign in front to the menu board inside, he removed everything blue that could be associated with Facebook.
This also meant that Bastida has to dispose of the new restaurant gear that arrived just a week before he received the letter. He said that he had ordered shirts, hats and new menus that included the original Tacobook logo that had the blue-and-red color scheme on it.
“I spent good money doing the remodel. I tried to do it as fast as I could, and my budget let me,” he told The Herald. “I didn’t want to take the chance they’d get mad at me.”
Then came the big task of changing the restaurant’s name. Customers sent him some recommendations like “Taco-holic” and “TacoPolice” but none of them stuck. Nonetheless, with the law firm’s permission, Tacobook was allowed to keep its name if it included a hyphen, which in return, saved Bastida money from having to redo pricey business paperwork.
Today, TACO-BOOK has a new logo and design. Gone are the blue and the thumbs-up that had previously hung up. A neon red and black taco is now what customers see when entering the restaurant.
For Bastida, he’s just happy that the colors are the only thing he had to change. According to customers, the food still tastes great and the service is always five stars.
“I’m glad they let me keep the name,” Bastida said. “A lot of people said, ‘I don’t care what your name is. As long as you’re doing your food, I’ll still be here.”