Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Taco Bell Loses Its Dogfight

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Taco Bell Loses Its Dogfight

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Taco Bell and its famous talking Chihuahua lost a dogfight at the Supreme Court Tuesday.

The court, without comment, declined to get involved in a copyright battle over who came up with the idea for the fast-food chain spokesdog.

Taco Bell had urged the court to throw out claims by two Michigan men that the Mexican food restaurants stole their idea for a talking Chihuahua.

In a rare bit of whimsy amid the dry claims of copyright law, Taco Bell's lawyer, veteran Supreme Court litigator Carter Phillips, began his legal brief by noting, "This is a tale of two dogs."

The Michigan men claim they pitched the idea of using a cartoon Chihuahua to sell Taco Bell food more than a year before the company began airing its dog ads in 1997.

The Taco Bell ads, since discontinued, featured a real Chihuahua who appeared to say in Spanish, "Yo quiero Taco Bell," or, "I want Taco Bell." The ad campaign became wildly popular, with spinoff stuffed toys, T-shirts and other products. …

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