BURNSVILLE, Minn. (FOX 9) - Taco John's is accusing a local Mexican restaurant chain of trademark infringement because its name is Taco Chon.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court of Minnesota this week, alleges Juan Ramos opened two quick-service Mexican restaurants named Taco Chon, in Burnsville and St. Cloud, "in an attempt to trade on the goodwill and commercial magnetism that Taco John’s has built up … and to free-ride on Taco John’s frame as a preeminent Mexican restaurant brand."
Taco John’s says in the lawsuit it started using its trademark as early as 1970, and it has "expended considerable time, money, and effort" in developing and marketing the Taco John’s brand, adding the public has come to recognize the chain and the food and drinks it serves.
"Taco John’s has established a distinguished reputation with the public as to the quality of its goods and services," the lawsuit says.
Taco John’s claims in the lawsuit the use of Taco Chon "imitates" Taco John’s trademark in a way that will likely confuse consumers and deceive the public into thinking Taco Chon is Taco John’s.
The lawsuit alleges Taco John’s learned about Taco Chon in January 2022, noting the Burnsville location is 4 miles from the Taco John’s in Savage and the St. Cloud location is 1.2 miles from the Taco John’s in Waite Park. Taco John’s sent Taco Chon a cease-and-desist letter on Feb. 1, demanding Taco Chon stop using the name.
But despite "repeated demands" Taco Chon continues to "unlawfully use" the name on its websites, social media and through the restaurants, the lawsuit says, adding Taco Chon is "willfully and deliberately" infringing on Taco John’s trademark rights.
Taco John’s says the use of the Taco Chon name has caused "irreparable injury, loss of reputation and pecuniary damages," noting if the court doesn’t stop Taco Chon it will continue to harm the national fast-food restaurant chain.
Taco John’s is asking the court to grant a permanent injunction against Taco Chon so it can no longer use the name. It is seeking injunctive relief and to recover Taco Chon’s profits, damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs.
Taco John’s has 57 locations in Minnesota, and 372 throughout the United States, the lawsuit says.
FOX 9 has reached out to Taco Chon for comment.