A federal jury has ordered US fastfood chain Taco Bell to pay US$30.1m to two men who claimed the company stole their idea for an advertising campaign that featured a talking Chihuahua.

Thomas Rinks and Joseph Shields sued the fastfood chain in 1998, claiming they had pitched their idea for a character called “Psycho Chihuahua” more than a year before Taco Bell launched the advertising campaign in 1997, reported CBS/AP. The two men claimed Taco Bell advertising executives agreed to use their idea but then proceeded to use it without paying them for it.

Taco Bell, which plans to appeal the verdict, said it got the idea to use the talking Chihuahua from the ad agency Chiat-Day.