We represented Wrench LLC against Taco Bell relating to the famous Taco Bell chihuahua advertising campaign.
Our clients, Wrench LLC, consisted of two independent artists located in Grand Rapids. They created the chihuahua character, which originally started out as their own “Psycho Chihuahua” cartoon character. At a trade show in New York, our clients met a representative from Taco Bell who brought some of their materials back to Taco Bell with him.
Over the next year our clients engaged in negotiations and the exchange of ideas to use the Psycho Chihuahua character in Taco Bell advertising. The relationship with Taco Bell essentially went dormant, and then our clients discovered Taco Bell was running ads with a live Chihuahua using the slogan “Yo quiero Taco Bell.” This became a wildly popular ad campaign.
Upon learning of the first ads, our clients sought our representation and we filed suit. Although there was no written contract, the claim was that Taco Bell breached an implied contract that if it used our clients’ idea, it would pay fair value for it. Taco Bell vigorously defended the case. The case was tried to a jury where we showed that Taco Bell decision-makers had access to the “Psycho Chihuahua” concept and that the “Psycho Chihuahua” character was indeed the live dog featured in the Taco Bell commercials.
The jury awarded our clients the exact amount of damages we sought - $30.1 million. After interest was added, the final judgment was over $41 million.