A federal prisoner in Arizona is suing Taco Bell, who he believes stole his idea to create Doritos Locos Tacos. According the Dallas Observer, prisoner Gary Cole (no, not the actor) is representing himself in a federal lawsuit against Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell. Cole is almost done with a 25-year sentence on charges of "delaying interstate commerce, conspiring to do so, and using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence." Seeing as Food Beast reports that Taco Bell has now sold over half a billion Doritos Locos Tacos, it's no wonder he wants his due.
Cole claims that Taco Bell stole his idea through the mail. Cole sent a notarized document to his attorney in 2006 which outlines several ideas for a "Divas and Ballers" brand. Along with hot sauce and body oil, the letter called for "Tacos [sic] shells of all flavors (made of Doritos)." Before suing, Cole reached out the FBI and the IRS, and attempted to get information on the invention of the Doritos Locos Taco from Taco Bell using the Freedom of Information Act.
Although Cole's letter was sent about four years prior to Taco Bell's landmark release of the Doritos Locos Taco, it seems unlikely that the culinary team at Taco Bell got the idea by engaging in mail fraud. More likely some higher ups were looking to boost sales? It also seems plausible that the same team that thought to stick tacos into Doritos would also be interested in experimenting with putting taco meat in waffles too.
· A Federal Prisoner is Suing Taco Bell for Stealing His Idea for the Doritos Locos Taco [Dallas Observer via Consumerist]
· All Taco Bell Coverage on Eater [-E-]