We’ve all had that moment: You’re watching TV late at night and see a commercial for a product that you swear, and will tell anyone who asks (or doesn’t), that you came up with first. They stole it! You might scream at the TV, startling the cat. One man currently incarcerated in a super-max federal prison in Colorado is taking his outrage a step further, and suing Taco Bell for allegedly swiping his idea for Doritos Locos Tacos.
The observant folks over at the Dallas Observer’s Unfair Park blog have brought us another gem with the tale of a prisoner currently at the tail-end of a 25-year sentence, who says Taco Bell and its gang of cohorts must’ve stolen his idea through the mail.
Back in 2006 — three years before Frito-Lay’s big idea in 2009 — he sent a notarized document he mailed to his attorney listing a bunch of product ideas. Among various plans for branded hot sauce, body oils and what have you is one key item: “Tacos shells of all flavors (made of Doritos).”
Fast forward to 2012 when the fast food world birthed exactly such a food, first with the Nachos flavor and soon enough after in 2013, Cool Ranch. Once the man caught wind of this development, it seems this outrage could not, nay would not be borne.
The prisoner wrote to the FBI demanding it investigate this thievery, checked in with the IRS to see who got paid by Taco Bell and others for an invention “submitted to them by theft and fraud” and even filed a Freedom of Information Act request to try to force Taco Bell to release any and all information it had on the invention of the Doritos Locos Tacos.
None of that worked, and so the man filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday and will be representing himself.
We’ve got to hand it to him, because usually when we realize someone else is profiting off an idea we totally had first, it’s just time to sink back into the couch, sigh heavily, and continue to ponder the cruel nature of the universe that seems intent on stealing our dreams and making our lives miserable. Good luck to you, sir.