Taco Bell wins fight to free use of ‘Taco Tuesday’ after N.J. restaurant forfeits rights to trademark

Gregory's Restaurant and Bar in Somers Point has now officially forfeited its rights to the term after four decades.

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Taco Bell has officially won its fight to free the term “Taco Tuesday” from trademark in all 50 states now that lone holdout – a restaurant in New Jersey – has “parted ways” with the term.

It’s a story we’ve been following for some time since the battle all came down to a New Jersey restaurant.

Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar in Somers Point has now officially forfeited its rights to the term after four decades. It’s not clear if a financial settlement was involved.

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“The response we’ve seen over the last six months since taking action to free ‘Taco Tuesday’ is the exact reason we felt it was worth freeing it in the first place,” Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer Taylor Montgomery told CNN.

Taco Bell scored a significant win in July when Taco John’s, a smaller regional chain, abandoned its trademark registration in the other 49 states because it didn’t want to pay the legal fees that come with a fight against its larger rival. However, Gregory’s owners proved harder to persuade, and they said that Taco Bell made them “look bad” during an August giveaway of free tacos.

“For Gregory’s Restaurant and Bar, ‘Taco Tuesday’ brought a lot of pride over the past 40 years,” said co-owner Gregory Gregory. “Relinquishing the trademark registration doesn’t change that, but it does allow others in New Jersey the same opportunity to build their own traditions and help spread Taco Tuesdays throughout New Jersey.”

Forfeiting the trademark was the “right move,” according to trademark attorney Josh Gerben, who is not involved in the case. He told CNN that Gregory’s legal fees would’ve been “extreme burden to bear for any small business,” estimating it to be at least $100,000.

“In this case, the writing was on the wall,” Gerben said. “The chances that the Gregory’s could have successfully defended the cancellation action against the ‘Taco Tuesday’ mark were extremely low. Therefore, I am not surprised that the Gregory’s waived the white flag and surrendered its trademark registration.”

Taco Bell said in a statement that this means restaurants can now use the “Taco Tuesday” phrase without fear of legal repercussions.

David Gibbs, CEO of Taco Bell’s parent company, Yum Brands, said in an August earnings call that the “campaign created massive brand buzz with engagement and mentions in one week for ‘Taco Tuesday’ liberation surpassing the entirety of the highly successful Mexican pizza relaunch last year.”

Sales at Taco Bell US locations open at least a year jumped 4% during the second quarter.

As a thank-you to Gregory’s, Taco Bell is giving New Jersey rewards members free Doritos Locos Tacos on November 21. No purchase is necessary.

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