Taco Tuesday is about more than food.
The story that we started several months ago has finally ended.
For decades, except in New Jersey, only a regional chain called Taco John’s could legally invite diners to its Taco Tuesday. The one exception was a Jersey shore bar that had trademarked the name in 1982. As a New Jersey single unit business, it was happy to limit its Taco Tuesday rights locally. Settling in court, they told Taco John, “We’ll take New Jersey. You can have the rest,”
Then though, pressured by Taco Bell in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Taco John’s, saying they were “”lovers, not fighters,” conceded their right to the phrase. In addition, they said it would be too expensive to wage the battle.
Now, with the New Jersey establishment also giving up its trademark, Taco Bell (and everyone else) can celebrate Taco Tuesday.
Our Bottom Line: Genericide
Our question today is about Gregory Gregory, the owner of the NJ bar. Having created the name, Taco Tuesday, to what extent can he own it? During June (2023), we looked at genericide. I wonder if the Taco Tuesday battle is similar.
Like Taco Tuesday, our story began with names that got trademark protection. The moving stairway became the escalator. The vacuum flask was the thermos. But then, each had its trademark reversed when the name became generic. Called genericide, trademark cancellation strikes when you get too much of what you wish for. It reflects the transfer of ownership from the creator to everyone. It means you got too popular.
The same has happened to Taco Tuesday. Now, it belongs to all of us.
Please note that, as an update, today’s post includes sections that we previously published.