LeBron James Is Petitioning To End The 'Taco Tuesday' Trademark Battle

LeBron James — a basketball icon, businessman, and taco lover — loves Tuesdays. Why? It's a great excuse to enjoy the classic combination of seasoned ground beef, cheese, lettuce, and sauce or pico de gallo tucked into a hard shell or soft tortilla every week. Innocently enjoying tacos on a day that happens to be Tuesday is fine, but put the two words together into a catchy, alliterative phrase, and you are committing trademark infringement. However, James loves "Taco Tuesdays" so much that he's aiding efforts to end the longstanding trademark battle with one fast food restaurant chain. 

Taco John's, a Cheyenne, Wyoming-based chain with more than 370 locations in 23 states, has owned the trademark for "Taco Tuesday" since 1989. Taco John's website proudly proclaims this fact, highlighting how the company invented the phrase — and includes a little trademark symbol alongside its "Taco Tuesday" promotions to help drive the point home. 

Per PR Newswire, Taco Bell and James argue that fans of Mexican fast food and taco lovers everywhere should be able to freely promote, partake in, and proclaim it's "Taco Tuesday." On May 16, 2023, the fast food giant filed a legal petition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office's appeal board to rescind the federal trademark registration. However, it does not seek trademark rights or damages. According to a statement, Taco Bell believes the world should be free to use the phrase without finding a cease-and-desist order in the mail.

How Taco Bell and LeBron James are focusing on freeing Taco Tuesday

Taco Bell started a petition on change.org called "Freeing Taco T***days." At the time of writing, the petition has collected 1,722 signatures. LeBron James will also appear in a new Taco Bell commercial in which every time he attempts to joyfully yell "Taco Tuesday," part of the phrase is bleeped out. "Why the bleep? Because this is a commercial, and there's a trademark on Taco Tuesday. Someone owns Taco Tuesday," he says incredulously. "C'mon, man!" At the end of the spot, from the top of a hill, James defiantly and triumphantly yells, like Julie Andrews singing atop a mountain, "Taco Tuesday!" 

Why does a company like Taco John's, with locations in only 23 states, care whether the term is used where it has no competition? Perhaps its founder, John Turner, had plans to expand and become as big as Taco Bell. Regardless, they do take the trademark seriously. According to The Cap Times, a Mexican restaurant in Wisconsin was told to stop using the phrase, so it asked customers to help rename its Tuesday taco promotion. Some options were hilarious, like one suggestion to rebrand as "Trademark Tyrant Taco Day." The only state excluded from Taco John's trademark is New Jersey, where a restaurateur in Somerville patented the name in the late 1970s. 

We dream of a day where our week includes Taco Salad Sundays, Margarita Mondays (after 5 p.m.), and "Taco Tuesdays."