Minnesota Argos Taco Jones is not to be confused with Mexican food

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Written by Elaine Vick, Cowboy State Daily

A lawyer defending the owner of a Mexican restaurant against allegations of trademark infringement by a Cheyenne fast food chain has argued in new court filings that Taco John is a “corporate bully” and is not afraid of proper Mexican culture.

In April, Taco John’s International, Inc. And Cheyenne-based Spicy Seasonings LLC sued Minnesota-based Mexican restaurant Taco Chon, accusing its owner Juan Ramos of violating the Taco John trademark that bears his name.

Both restaurants presented summaries of their cases and positions in US District Court in Minnesota on June 8, with Ramos’ lawyer detailing the restaurateur’s struggle to come to America and realize his dream.

The lawyer described Ramos’ childhood in Jalisco, Mexico, when he helped his parents with a food cart they were running in the 1980s.

He saw them struggling financially and wanted to do anything he could to support them.

“Similar to the famous scene in My Cousin Vinny… ‘No self-respecting Southerner would eat instant grits,’” a true Mexican taco consumer knows that a good taco is the pairing of perfect meat and the perfect sauce made from scratch, Ramos’ attorney wrote.

“Ramos vowed and became motivated to keep his promise to his mother that one day he would have a Mexican grill in the United States called Taco Chun and that she would never lack money to buy groceries again,” he said.

Taco John’s lawyers have argued that Ramos’ use of the name “Taco Chun” diminishes the Taco John brand’s ability to differentiate its restaurants’ goods and services, regardless of competition.

There are 57 Taco John’s restaurants in Minnesota.

Taco John’s lawyers have also said the two restaurants are similar, a claim that Ramos’s lawyer has vehemently contested.

Ramos’ lawyer argued that the name of his client’s restaurant was taken from a nickname for his father, “Don Chun,” as he was dressed as a character of the same name from a popular 1970s Mexican television series, “Los Polivoces.”

Taco Chun’s lawyers said fast food restaurant Taco John could not provide enough evidence to show that it had been confused with the full-service Mexican restaurant.

“Taco Chun Mexican Grill is not a ‘newbie’ to any of the users [trademark] “Because the Ramos family was a resident of Mexican culture long before Taco John landed on the rock of Wyoming,” said Ramos’ attorney.

Taco John Ramos is accused of opening two Taco Jones-style fast-serve Mexican restaurants under the name “Taco Chun” within 5 miles of Taco John’s restaurants in Minnesota, which is “likely to cause confusion, error, or deception.”

Taco Chon has locations in St. Cloud, MN, which is just over a mile from Taco Jones, and Burnsville, MN, which is 4 miles from the Taco John concession.

Ramos’ attorney argued that Taco John’s “West Mix” could not be confused with authentic Mexican cuisine, which Ramos serves in his restaurants. He added that Taco Chun was not a fast food restaurant like Taco Jones, but rather a Mexican grill serving sit-down meals and alcoholic drinks.

Ramos’ attorney has sought damages from Taco Jones in the amount of at least $150,000 to compensate Ramos for all financial and/or economic damages, along with non-monetary damages resulting from the lawsuit, citing depression and anxiety arising from the case. .

Taco Jones is no stranger to filing lawsuits to protect its trademarks.

The company sent “stop and cease” letters to other restaurants about their use of the “Taco Tuesday” logo, which it trademarked in 1989.

In 2006, Taco John International sued Taco Del Mar, alleging that one of its restaurants in Colorado used the logo to advertise its Tuesday specials.

The lawsuit was dismissed at the request of all parties three months after its submission.

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