A Toronto Taco Shop owner has lost his legal battle to keep the name of his restaurant’s signature item, a $3.9 million defamation lawsuit filed by a former employee.
The lawsuit alleges that the name “Tacos Taco Shop” was offensive to some.
The business opened in 2009 and is still open today.
In the lawsuit, Tic Tacs founder John Fussell alleges that former employee “Kaitlyn” filed the lawsuit after the Tic Taco Shop was “slammed” by the “tacos” trademark.
Kaitlyn claimed she was fired because she had a problem with the taco logo.
Fussel alleges that Kaitlin created a logo using the Taco logo as a placeholder and used the logo in other branding decisions.
FUSELL, J.M. & ASSOCIATES v.
KATLIN KATELIN  ONCJ 539 [Crown Office].
The Court dismissed the lawsuit against Kaitlins Tic Shop and awarded the business owners damages of $3,947.49 in punitive damages.
Fusell claims that his trademark has been used to promote the Taco brand since 2010.
He also contends that the Tocas “Taco” logo has been associated with the business since 2010 and that the “Tic Tac Shop” name was only added to the trademark in the mid-1990s.
The restaurant was shut down in December 2011.
“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this matter,” Fussels legal team wrote in the lawsuit.
“The Court has made it clear that it will not allow an employer to avoid paying its employees because of a perceived ‘offensive’ logo, so we are pleased that the Court has sided with us in this matter.”
In February 2016, a judge granted the businesses injunction to prevent the Tics from trademarking the Taco name.
In May 2017, the case was sent to the Ontario Superior Court.
In April 2018, Fusell filed a lawsuit against former employee Kaitlynn, alleging she was “disgusted and hurt by the use of the Taco-like logo” and filed a defamation suit.
She was also seeking $5 million in damages, the Ontario Court of Appeal’s final judgment against her was for $1.9m.
In June 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of Fusells claims and awarded her $2,500 in damages.
The case will return to court on November 23, 2021.