Culture

Taco Tuesday Is Legally Trademarked But This Is Why That Doesn’t Really Mean Anything

@tacojohns

If you go out on a Tuesday, it’s pretty common to see signs at various establishments that say “Taco Tuesday.” You’ll also so see “Wine Wednesday,” “Thirsty Thursday,” “Friday Funday,” etc. These are what you call familiar catchphrases, which means they’re used all the time, by people all over the world. If you ask who invented these standard terms, you’d probably say that God did, or that they’ve just existed forever. Well, that mentality perhaps might be correct, but in this great country of weird laws, it doesn’t matter who invented something but rather who puts their claim on it by trademarking it first. 

A taco chain restaurant called Taco John’s — based in Cheyenne, Wyoming — trademarked the term “Taco Tuesday” in 1989, and is sick of people using the phrase.

According to the Associated Press, Taco John’s has 400 locations in 23 states. The phrase “Taco Tuesday” is only legal for them to use in all states except in New Jersey, where someone there also trademarked the phrase before them. Guess we will never who actually coined the term int he first place. 

But the real issue here is how it can be possible for any one establishment, especially independent ones, to stop using the term that is as common as “happy birthday.” 

For years, Taco John’s has been sending cease-and-desist letters to several eateries for their illegal use of “Taco Tuesday.” Most recently they targeted a brewery that doesn’t even profit from the sale of tacos.

Freedom’s Edge Brewing Co., located near the Taco John’s headquarters, was advertising a “taco truck that parks outside its establishment once a week,” and used the “Taco Tuesday” catchphrase. Taco John’s clearly saw it and was pissed because they sent Freedom’s Edge a cease-and-desist letter to stop advertising by using “Taco Tuesday.” 

“We have nothing against Taco John’s but do find it comical that some person in their corporate office would choose to send a cease and desist to a brewery that doesn’t sell or profit from the sales of tacos,” the brewery said in a statement, according to the AP. They also said they had no idea that “Taco Tuesday” was trademarked. Hey, we didn’t either. 

People on social media say Taco John’s have taken their trademark of “Taco Tuesday” too far. 

Antone Duran said on Facebook that Taco John’s is going after the wrong people and said the term is so common it’s unfair to target an independent establishment.  

“I’ve traveled 34 states and throughout the country, I’ve heard or read “taco Tuesday” at restaurants and bars,” Duran said. “Even where I live now in Palm Springs. And I guarantee most of those places never even heard of taco John’s. So perhaps they were quick to trademark it, but they sure as hell didn’t invent it. And I guarantee they’re not going after hundreds of other restaurants throughout the country to demanding they stop. Lol. Petty for them to go after this place.”

Legal experts say that Taco John’s, unfortunately (or fortunately for the rest of us) doesn’t stand much of a chance in the court system to legally demand places stop using “Taco Tuesday.”

Seattle-based attorney Michael Atkins told the AP the catchphrase is used so commonly that it’s almost impossible to go after each entity that uses it. “Taco Tuesday” has been used everywhere from small signages at the corner shop to commercials to movies. 

“It’s kind of asinine to me think that one particular taco seller, or taco maker, would have monopoly rights over ‘Taco Tuesday,'” Atkins told the publication. “It has become such a common phrase that it no longer points to Taco John’s and therefore Taco John’s doesn’t have the right to tell anybody to stop using that.”

In some ways, we kind of feel bad for Taco John’s. They went all-in on a phrase that ended up being super popular, and now they can’t even make a profit on it. On the other hand, they’re an established restaurant making millions off of Mexican food. They’ll survive.

READ: Cautionary Tale: A Fresno Man Died During A Taco-Eating Contest And People Are Left Wondering How

Twitter Drags LeBron James So Hard After His Trademark Request For ‘Taco Tuesday’ Is Rejected

Entertainment

Twitter Drags LeBron James So Hard After His Trademark Request For ‘Taco Tuesday’ Is Rejected

KingJames / Instagram

I know I speak for many when I say there was a collective ‘WTF’ moment when news broke that LeBron James was trying to trademark the now ubiquitous phrase “Taco Tuesday.”

Sure, many of us are devout lovers (some may even say super fans) of the Mexican food classic. Like seriously, we stan all kids of tacos. Al pastor. Barbacoa. Vegano. Nopal. Bistec. Todos. But I would never think about trying to trademark a now popular phrase that has already entered the mainstream lexicon. Like maybe I’m just not that bold (slash delusional) but it just doesn’t seem like something a normal person would do.

Enter The King himself, LeBron James.

The King’s campaign to own ‘Taco Tuesday’ was flat out rejected on Wednesday.

LeBron James took a major loss today when in request to trademark the phrase “Taco Tuesday” was rejected by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. James, who has engaged his social media fans on Instagram with his videos of him and his family and friends eating tacos on Tuesday, was rumored to be looking to brand the videos and continue to do what he does best: make money.

The news that the request was denied comes from Darren Rovell, who tweeted out the decision on LeBron James’ request, which followed the L.A. Lakers’ star’s decision to try and trademark the commonly used phrase just a few weeks ago.

All this Taco Tuesday madness began when it was reported that James had filed a trademark request for the phrase.

James filed the trademark late last month through his company, LBJ Trademarks LLC, with the intention of using “Taco Tuesday” for “podcasting services,” as well as “online entertainment services… and social media posts in the field of sports, entertainment, current events and popular culture.” His company also acknowledged their plans to use the phrase for advertising and marketing services. It was only a matter of time until LeBron James attempted to monetize “Taco Tuesday”. 

For weeks, LeBron has been yelling the phrase “Taco Tuesday” on social media and it seems like he’s trying to own the phrase for social media posts and an upcoming podcast.

James applied for the trademark after he began posting Taco Tuesday posts on his social media channels, showing his family enjoying, you guessed it, tacos on Tuesdays (real original, James…)

Many scoffed at James’ trademark attempt, as “Taco Tuesday” is, as the government decided, an extremely common phrase, but according to James’ spokesperson everything went according to plan.

And let’s not forget, a Wyoming taco joint already owns the official rights to ”Taco Tuesday.”

Unfortunately, for James, even though his “Taco Tuesday” request was reviewed, according to Josh Gerben, a small Mexican restaurant in Wyoming actually already owns the phrase, which is pretty hilarious when you consider every single taco joint uses it for marketing every Tuesday night.

Given the fact everyone likes to pile on LeBron James when something like this happens, social media had some pretty A+ reactions to the news. 

That’s right people! #TacoTuesday belongs to toda la gente! I don’t care how many coins you’ve got or what you do, you can’t take that away from us.

Some speculated as to what the basketball great may try and go after next…

Throwback Thursday, Casual Friday, Hump Day, Thirsty Thursday, Flashback Friday, Man Crush Monday…are they all at risk of being trademarked these days?

Many on Twitter claimed to have already filed their own trademarks for some of these popular hashtags. Some hope to beat others to the punch. But given the reason cited by the judge who rejected James’ request – that it already enjoyed popular widespread use – none of these are likely to be approved.

Some took to GIFs to express their emotions.

I mean that’s a pretty accurate depiction of what happened in this case.

While some on Twitter were upset about the supposed double standard happening with this case.

To many on Twitter, this was a classic case of cultural appropriation at work. A person from outside one community was trying to profit and capitalize off the hard work and culture of another community. Many were left wondering where the outrage was at?

Latino Twitter wasn’t having any of this crazy publicity stunt.

Though the group was small, there were several Latinos annoyed that someone from outside the community would attempt to profit off a food that’s important to a different community.

And some pointed out that only a person of privilege and wealth would be able to attempt something like this.

And it’s totally true. There’s a steep application fee just to start the process plus, in most cases, you need a lawyer to argue your case for you. Lawyers are not cheap.

There’s just one thing that this publicity stunt succeeded at…

I’m beyond craving some good tacos right now and no, it’s not Taco Tuesday. But maybe Taco Thursday could be a thing?

LeBron James Has Filed A Patent Request To Trademark ‘Taco Tuesday’ And Everyone Is Like, Que?

Culture

LeBron James Has Filed A Patent Request To Trademark ‘Taco Tuesday’ And Everyone Is Like, Que?

lacallejeratacos / kingjames / Instagram

LeBron James is always making the new for something and now it is because he wants to trademark the phrase “Taco Tuesday.” Now, he isn’t trademarking the phrase for anything food-related. James just wants to make sure no one can use the phrase when it comes to any kind of online services, podcasting, etc. So, if you’ve ever had a “Taco Tuesday” idea for something on social media, those days are numbered. The story is reminding some of when Snow Tha Product trademarked the phrse “Stay Woke” for tour merchandise.

LeBron James has been pushing out videos on social media celebrating his obsession with “Taco Tuesday.”

If you follow him on Instagram, you have likely seen his videos. The on above shows him screaming “Taco Tuesday” several times. To really let you know that he loves “Taco Tuesday” is when he gives us his version of a Mexican grito. It’s a subpar grito, but it does sound like an attempt at a grito.

James filed his trademark request seeking to own the phrase “Taco Tuesday” for “downloadable audio/visual works,” “podcasting services,” “online entertainment services,” and “advertising and marketing services provided by means of indirect methods of marketing communications, namely, social media, search engine marketing, inquiry marketing, internet marketing, mobile marketing, blogging and other forms of passive, sharable or viral communications channels.”

Some people are placing the blame on the people who let James believe his use of “Taco Tuesday” was somehow unique.

Credit: @LATACO / Twitter

“Taco Tuesday” is a phrase that has existed for decades. So many people have posted or created things for the internet that use the phrase “Taco Tuesday.” Latinos and taco enthusiasts combined are bewildered that the Los Angeles transplant thinks he can somehow trademark the phrase.

There is consistent and burning pushback against James’s wish to trademark the phrase.

Credit: @UralG / Twitter

Like, we get it. Ohio’s food isn’t that exciting. However, it isn’t cool to take food from an entire culture and trademark a phrase popularized by society at large. People understand the excitement over great tacos, but why take it to this extreme?

People are calling him out for going after Mexican culture.

Credit: @jerrymireles / Twitter

According to ESPN, James and his team have no plans for the phrase but they want to keep their business options open. However, is it a good business plan to be so controversial?

The phrase “Taco Tuesday” was around before James even played on an official NBA team.

Credit: @Peculiar_Pope / Twitter

Who else remembers the little señoras at your school calling it “Taco Tuesday”? It was low key the most exciting time for us in school. Tacos for lunch were the best and them landing on Tuesday was a holiday in the cafeteria.

There are some folks out there who are disappointed that the phrase is now ruined.

Credit: @TheVFCastro / Twitter

It is kind of hard to celebrate something that is being co-opted for a profit, especially when the profit is outside of the community. However, to be fair, there is already an active trademark for “Taco Tuesday” and it is from a company based in Wyoming. Taco John’s legally trademarked the phrase in 1989 and will send cease and desist letters when anyone uses it to promote their own Taco Tuesday events. However, what if we just called it Tuesday Tacos and took the power back from these people?

Some people on social media are defending LeBron James and his decision to trademark the phrase.

Credit: @exavierpope / Twitter

Sure. James isn’t trademarking the phrase for food purposes…because that trademark already exists. There is still the issue that trademarking the phrase the way they wish would severely impact Latino content creators. If you cannot use it digitally for entertainment, education, telecommunication services, advertising, etc, then you are taking it away from the community that relates to it on a personal and nostalgic level.

Until the decision is made, here is what a lot of people think about James trademarking “Taco Tuesday.”

Tbh, his yelling the phrase is something nobody can forget. It gets embedded in your brain after hearing it one time.

This one tweet sums up the overarching sentiment to the news of James’s trademark attempt.

Credit: @CScoot6 / Twitter

LOL

READ: Taco Tuesday Is Legally Trademarked But This Is Why That Doesn’t Really Mean Anything