As we approach Thanksgiving, on behalf of everyone at Gottlieb, Rackman & Reisman, we want to say thank you to all our clients and associates around the world. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you in all your intellectual property needs. With the holiday approaching, Mitch Feller and Teresa Segalman thought it would be fun to look at some IP associated with the holiday.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is perhaps the most famous Thanksgiving day parade and watching it — on TV or in person — is an annual tradition for many people. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving parade was in 1924. While Macy’s has many trademarks, it only obtained a trademark for MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE (registered for “entertainment services, namely, organizing and conducting a parade”) in 1997.
Thanksgiving, aka “Turkey Day,” has traditionally centered around serving a turkey entrée, and BUTTERBALL turkey has been available since 1938. Butterball, LLC owns the word mark BUTTERBALL, as well as the logo that has been used on its turkeys since 1962. Sometimes, however, you want to one-up the basic turkey at the feast. Enter the Turducken, a gastronomic Frankenstein made of a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey. This was popularized by Chef Paul Prudhomme at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen and he registered TURDUCKEN as a trademark in 1986 for a “combination turkey, duck and chicken entree for consumption on or off the premises.”
With the global rise in plant-based eating due to health, animal welfare, and environmental concerns, meatless turkey substitutes are becoming a tradition for non-carnivores and for hosts who want to be prepared for the different habits of all their guests. One of the earliest was TOFURKY. The trademark has been registered by Turtle Island Foods since 1998 and TOFURKY products have been available since 1995. In labs today, many companies are competing to make the next generation of meatless meat. One of the leading companies, Impossible Foods, Inc., has been granted dozens of patents, including No. 10,172,380 for “Ground meat replicas.”
You can’t serve turkey (or TOFURKEY) without cranberry sauce, and Ocean Spray has been a favorite since 1921. Their logo has been used on cranberry sauce for more than 50 years. The company is a technical innovator, obtaining Patent No. 3,023,108 in 1962 for a “Process for Preparing Cranberry Sauce.” They have recently joined the meat substitute frenzy, obtaining their own patent No. 11,737,479 for a meat alternative made with cranberry seeds.
And what about the stuffing? One popular stuffing is instant stuffing mix. Before its introduction in 1972, a team of researchers at General Foods Corp. discovered the ideal size distribution and moisture content that bread crumbs should have so they to give the proper texture and mouthfeel when hydrated and cooked. They were granted Patent No. 3,870,803 for an “Instant Stuffing Mix” in 1975. The initial Stove Top logo was registered as a trademark in 1973 and the current logo in 1981.
No Thanksgiving meal would be complete without pie, be it pumpkin, apple, pecan, or many others! And to make a pie you need a pie crust. Since 1873, PILLSBURY has provided ready-made pie crusts, and has been using its registered logo since 1975. For home cooks who want to make their own pie crust shortening is a must. One of the most popular shortenings is also the first to be made entirely from vegetable oils. Patent No. 1,135,351, issued in 1915 discloses a cotton-seed oil product “hardened to a homogeneous white or yellowish semi-solid closely simulating lard” i.e., CRISCO, first trademarked in 1917. And of course, to make a pie you also need something to bake it in. The Corning Glass Works, inventor of PYREX® obtained patent No. 1,304,622 in 1919 for a baking dish made of their improved glass:
What about trademarking THANKSGIVING? Can anyone have exclusive rights to the holiday? The short answer is yes, but only concerning specific goods or services. Like any trademark, it has to identify the source of the product or service and distinguish it from others in the market. That’s why there are many active registrations of THANKSGIVING in the Trademark Office, including THANKSGIVING for beef jerky, for gaming software, and for wine, THANKSGIVING DAY DINNER for pet food and THANKSGIVING COFFEE CO. for coffee and tea.
Whatever your traditions are, and whatever foods may be on your table, we wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving and relaxing holiday. All the best, from GRR.