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Taco Bell is petitioning the government to cancel the trademark for 'Taco Tuesday'

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Taco Tuesday has become a well-known phrase in American life, kind of like saying BJ Leiderman does our theme music. But though many restaurants promote Taco Tuesday, in all but one state, only one chain really has the legal right to use that phrase as a slogan.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Save on beef tacos every Taco Tuesday. Ole the day at Taco John's.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: At the home of the true Taco Tuesday, Taco John's - unwrap the original.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: See you on taco at Tuesday John's - Taco John's.

SIMON: Taco John's, a Wyoming-based food chain with roughly 380 locations, has held the trademark for Taco Tuesday since 1989. This week, the vastly larger Taco Bell filed a petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the trademark. Taco Bell says it doesn't want to own the rights to Taco Tuesday but wants to free the term, saying Taco Tuesday, quote, "should belong to all who make, sell, eat and celebrate tacos." Of course, the petition was filed on Tuesday. Taco John's reported on Thursday with a statement from CEO Jim Creel, (speaking Spanish), Spanish for no more, please. They also launched a fresh Taco Tuesday special - two for $2 until the end of this month.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.