IP and Your Thanksgiving Dinner


Today, we provide you some fodder to discuss at your Thanksgiving table.  Why not share some of this knowledge with your family and friends?



A quick search on the USPTO’s website, and you discover that Butterball, LLC, the owner of what is likely Thanksgiving’s biggest brand, Butterball®, has over 50 live trademarks.  Those marks include several for the Butterball® mark.  The first use of the earliest live mark was in 1977. 

While you are discussing your knowledge of Butterball®, don’t forget to mention that there have been several patents relating to cooking the turkey.   Two examples include:

  1) U.S. Patent No. 3,804,965 “A Method for Roasting Meat”

This patent, which issued in 1974, is directed to a method of roasting meat on a flexible web that suspends from the oven to prevent the meat from having direct contact with the oven.  The invention is supposed to reduce the loss of meat juices, increase overall tenderness, and improve the doneness uniformity of the meat.  

  2) U.S. Patent No. 9,016,190 “Turkey fryer with complete splatter protection”

Within the past 10 years, deep frying turkey has become popular.  However, as some people have discovered, this method of cooking turkey is dangerous and has caused many home fires.  Due to that safety issue, there has been an expansion in the number of patents dealing with frying turkey safety.  This is one of those patents.  This patent, which issued earlier this year, is directed to an apparatus which acts as a complete protective barrier that prevents splatter from being projected from the fryer when immersing the turkey (or any foodstuff) into hot cooking oil. 


Some people can’t enjoy their turkey without the stuffing.  People have their preferences for stuffing, but we have chosen to discuss two well-known brands—Stove Top® and Pepperidge Farms®. 

Kraft Foods Group Brands, LLC currently has at least three live trademark registrations for Stove Top®, or derivations of that mark for stuffing.  The first use date for the earliest registered trademark is 1978. 

Beyond trademark registration, the owners of Stove Top® have also protected their stuffing through the years with patents, all which are now expired.  Examples include:

  1) U.S. Patent No. 3,870,803 “Instant Stuffing Mix,” which issued in March 1975.

  2) U.S. Patent No. 4,940,591 “Microwaveable Stuffing Mix,” which issued in July 1990.

  3) U.S. Patent No. 4,207,346 “Process for making high density bread for use in a stuffing mix,” which issued in June 1980.

Pepperidge Farm, Inc. has at least two live trademark registrations for the mark “Pepperidge Farm®” for stuffing.  One is a word mark, and the other is the word and design mark reflected above.  The first use date for the word mark is 1937. 


Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving favorite.   How do you like your mashed potatoes?

Ore Ida®

Heinz Company Corporation, the current owner of the Ore Ida brand has at least 10 live trademark registrations on variations of the “Ore Ida®” mark for potato products.  The first use of “Ore-Ida” was in 1954. 


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have seen the push by the State of Idaho Potato Commission over the years to get people to buy and eat Idaho potatoes.  Currently, the commission has at least 14 live trademark registrations on various “Idaho” marks which cover potato products.  The first use of the earliest live registered mark “Idaho®” for potato products was in 1939.  

Of course, for those people that don’t want to make their own mashed potatoes, there are plenty of inventors with patents (all expired) for instant mashed potatoes.  Examples include:

  1) U.S. Patent No. 3,275,458 “Dehydrated Mashed Potato and Process for Making Same” which issued in September 1966.

  2) U.S. Patent No. 3,458,325 “Process for producing a dehydrated instant potato product from potato flakes and potato granules” which issued in July 1969. 

  3) U.S. Patent No. 5,536,525 “Method for preparing and packaging a frozen instant mashed potato product” which issued in July 1996.


This is a Thanksgiving must! 

Green Giant®

B&G Foods North America, Inc. has over 15 live registered trademarks relating to corn products, including several “Green Giant®” variations.  The first use of the oldest live mark was in 1926. 

Del Monte®

Another popular corn brand is Del Monte® which is owned by Del Monte Foods, Inc.  Del Monte also currently has over 15 live marks that relate to corn products.  The first use of the oldest live mark is 1891.


Ocean Spray®

Cranberries are essential to every Thanksgiving meal.  Some people make their own, while others like to buy it in a can.  Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. has both varieties.  The Ocean Spray brand is used on both the canned and fresh varieties of cranberries.  There are two live Ocean Spray® marks for sauces.   

Ocean Spray has also owned many patents relating to cranberry sauce, including:

  1) U.S. Patent No. 3,023,108 “Process for Preparing Cranberry Sauce” which issued in February 1962.

  2) U.S. Patent No. 3,142,574 “Method of Making a Cranberry Relish” which issued in July 1964.

  3) U.S. Patent No. 3,326,694 “Process for Preparing Cranberry Sauce” which issued in June 1967. 

  4) U.S. Patent No. 3,360,379 “Processes for Making Whole Cranberry Sauce” which issued in December 1967.

ROLLS – or other bread products


Bread products may not be essential for the Thanksgiving table, but most families include them.  The Pillsbury Company, LLC has over 15 live registered trademarks for its refrigerated dough products.   The first use date of the earliest registered mark is 1873. 

Likewise, The Pillsbury Company, LLC has owned patents on their refrigerated bread products over the years, including:

  1) U.S. Patent No. 3,879,563 “Refrigerated Biscuit Dough” which issued in April 1975.

  2) U.S. Patent No. 5,292,846 “Method of Manufacturing Refrigerated Dough” which issued in March 1994.


This is probably my favorite part about the Thanksgiving meal.  The popular pies for Thanksgiving are apple and pumpkin. And, after cooking so much homemade Thanksgiving food, the chef needs to use some pre-made or partially pre-made options. 

Mrs. Smith’s®

Schwan’s IP, LLC owns the Mrs. Smith’s® brand.  There are currently at least three live Mrs. Smith’s registered marks, and the first date of use for the word mark is 1926. 


If you prefer pumpkin pie, Libby’s® is one of the brands available to you.  Libby’s® is owned by Libby’s Brand Holding Limited Corporation.  There are currently three registered trademarks for pie filling, and the first use date for the word mark is 1894. 

Have fun impressing your friends and family at your Thanksgiving table with this IP knowledge.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Dunlap Codding!  



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