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Munchies

Why a Taqueria Is Suing KFC for Being 'Finger Lickin' Good'

KFC is being sued by Taqueria El Amigo after the chicken behemoth ran a bunch of ads that target the Spanish-language audience and use a particular translation of its familiar tag line.

by Alex Swerdloff
Jun 21 2016, 12:00am

When you hear the phrase, "finger lickin' good," you probably think of a certain fried chicken chain with a bespectacled colonel as its mascot. But the Spanish translation of that phrase—at least when styled as "para chuparse los dedos"—appears to belong a taqueria in Santa Ana, California.

And that's why KFC is being sued by Taqueria El Amigo after the chicken behemoth ran a bunch of ads that target the Spanish-language audience and use that particular translation of its familiar tag line.

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A trademark infringement lawsuit was filed recently by Felipa Piedra, who owns Taqueria El Amigo, against KFC Corporation and its parent company, Yum! Brands. The complaint states that the taco joint has used the Spanish phrase as its logo since 1988. Piedra then trademarked the catchphrase in 2007, and renewed it in 2015 with the United States Patent and Trademark Office records.

Para chuparse los dedos" roughly translates to "to suck the fingers" or "to lick the fingers." According to Piedra, KFC already tried to trademark that phrase and was denied the right back in 2015 by the USPTO, yet still went ahead and used it in television, radio and digital ads. A commercial that ran on Spanish-speaking stations like Telemundo clearly tells viewers to chuparse their dedos. Piedra says that's not cool.

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KFC's English-language use of "finger lickin' good" is longstanding. In fact, its US trademark filings for the motto go back to the 1960s. According to one legal blog, that early registration expired between 2005 and 2006 but new registrations were obtained in 2007.

But Piedra says that doesn't cover the Spanish phrase. A KFC spokesperson told MUNCHIES that the company is "confident that this lawsuit is meritless and that our use of our world-famous slogan in Spanish is appropriate."

We have a feeling that if Taqueria El Amigo wins the lawsuit, KFC may be licking its wounds instead of its fingers—both metaphorically and in Spanish.