Taco Bell Settles 'Taco Tuesday' Trademark Dispute Once And For All

Taco Bell tacos
Taco Bell tacos - Bloomberg/Getty Images

If you celebrate Taco Tuesday in your house, you can now do so without fear as Taco Bell has settled its lawsuit to free the term from its former trademark holders. You may not have ever actually worried about the legal status of the popular term, but prior to Taco Bell's recent actions, it was owned by two separate restaurants. The first was Taco John's, a regional chain that held the trademark to "Taco Tuesday," in 49 states. Taco John's was quick to drop its claim after Taco Bell started its campaign, concerned that it couldn't afford to legally battle its much larger rival. The bigger challenge unexpectedly came from the one state where Taco John's didn't own the term: New Jersey. There it was owned by a small local restaurant named Gregory's Restaurant & Bar.

Located in Somers Point, Gregory's restaurant and its owner Gregory Gregory (yes you read that right), had been holding out against Taco Bell until this past week. Now, according to a press release from the company, Gregory's has finally agreed to "part ways," with Taco Tuesday. In response to the news, Taco Bell executive Sean Tresvant said, "When we set out to free Taco Tuesday, we did it for all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos." While it may seem surprising a local restaurant held out longer than a big chain, the suit was complicated by the fact that the proprietor of Gregory's claims he was the one who invented the term in the first place.

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Gregory's Restaurant And Bar In New Jersey Has Given Up Its Claim To 'Taco Tuesday'

Gregory's Bar New Jersey
Gregory's Bar New Jersey - Gregory's Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

In a July interview with Slate, Gregory claimed the idea for Taco Tuesday came to him in 1978. He had taken over his parent's restaurant and wanted to add tacos to the menu after seeing how popular the then-novel food had been at a Philadelphia mall. The famous alliteration was supposedly inspired by a bar down the street that had "Drink and Drown Wednesday." After the success of the promotion, Gregory's was awarded the trademark in New Jersey in 1982.

Gregory's was understandably resistant to giving up the term at first and felt that Taco Bell was making it look bad with its talk of freeing Taco Tuesday and weekly giveaways of free tacos. However, as part of Taco Bell's victory announcement, Gregory released a statement, saying, "Taco Tuesday has always been a source of pride for my family and our restaurant, but we recognize Taco Tuesday is widely celebrated and embraced beyond our four walls," adding that they were excited to share the term. The dark side of the story is that fighting against Taco Bell's lawyers likely would have been an unbearable financial burden on the small restaurant. Taco Bell is celebrating the end of the dispute with free Doritos Locos Tacos on November 21 for Taco Bell Rewards Members in New Jersey, while the rest of us can feel free to celebrate Taco Tuesday anywhere and anytime we want.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.