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Wyoming-based Taco John’s folds over ‘Taco Tuesday’ trademark lawsuit against Taco Bell

Taco John's is pictured on Plaza Drive on Casper's west side in 2019. (Google Maps)

CASPER, Wyo. — A lawsuit by Wyoming-based Taco John’s to protect its “Taco Tuesday” trademark might have been a tad too spicy.

According to the Associated Press, Taco John’s announced on Tuesday that it would abandon its legal response to fast food giant Taco Bell for the exclusive use of the phrase “Taco Tuesday.”

The beef between the two taco rivals started earlier this year, when Taco Bell filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against Taco John’s 1989 trademark of the phrase, arguing that it was too common and widely used to belong to any single business.

In a filing with the trademark office on Tuesday, Taco John’s CEO Jim Creel suggested that the steep legal fees could be better used elsewhere.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on being the home of Taco Tuesday, but paying millions of dollars to lawyers to defend our mark just doesn’t feel like the right thing to do,” Creel said, according to the AP. “As we’ve said before, we’re lovers, not fighters, at Taco John’s.”

Taco Bell is part of the multinational corporation Yum! Brands that operates some of the most recognizable and popular fast food brands, including Pizza Hut, KFC, and The Habit Burger Grill, which is popular in California. According to Wikipedia, there are more than 7,000 Taco Bell locations globally. According to its website, Taco John’s operates around 400 restaurants in 23 states. The company was started in 1969 in Cheyenne, where it is still based.

According to CNN, Creel announced they would donate $40,000 to Children of Restaurant Employees, which is a nonprofit organization that “supports restaurant workers with children providing financial relief when either the employee, spouse or a child faces a life-altering health crisis, injury, death or natural disaster,” they said in their statement.

A legal expert told CNN that Taco John’s decision to change course was “not surprising,” adding that the chain faced a difficult battle and possibly significant public-relations blowback.