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Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Turkey Fun!

 

It’s the time of year that our thoughts turn to cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and of course – Turkey!  Just for fun this week, we thought we’d look at a few legal cases involving the beloved birds.

 

In Louis Rich, Inc. v. Horace W. Longacre, Inc., the plaintiff sued seeking an injunction to prevent the defendant from using the words “gobble-gobble” in advertising its processed turkey product.  In 1976, The plaintiff, Louis Rich, Inc., applied to trademark the words “Gobble-Gobble” based upon their first use of the words.

 

The defendant developed a commercial for its turkey ham product in which a little boy is asked at the outset of the commercial a riddle, “what do you say to a ham that is made out of turkey?”, to which he replies “Gobble-gobble?”  The boy was then shown eating a “ham” sandwich.  The commercial ended with the boy repeating the catchphrase “gobble-gobble” in a positive manner.

 

To prevail, and obtain an injunction, Louis Rich would have to show that it would suffer immediate harm pendente lite, and that it had a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits.  The court determined that both companies had been using the term “gobble-gobble” in advertising campaigns in numerous markets.  The court found that the defendant’s use of the term did in fact infringe upon the plaintiff’s trademark.

 

The court stated: “The similarity between the use of the term ‘gobble-gobble’ by the plaintiff and defendant is likely to create confusion in consumer’s minds, impairing the mark’s function as a symbol of plaintiff’s name and goods and thereby destroying the mark’s value to plaintiff.” 

 

Ultimately the court granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the defendant from using the term “gobble-gobble” in its advertising.

 

In Armour and Company v. Swift & Company, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit took up the issue of whether Armour could patent a process of assembling pieces of turkey into a boneless roast. 

 

Initially Armour had developed a process of taking chunks of meat and agitating them in a salt solution, then pressing them together and cooking them to form one large piece of turkey.  When Swift & Company sought to duplicate the process, Armour sued alleging that Swfit had violated Armour’s patent, obtained in 1966.

 

Initially the trial court found that Armour’s patent was invalid, finding that the process was obvious to one of ordinary skill at the time the alleged invention was made and that Armour was not completely forthcoming with the patent office. 

 

Armour appealed, contending that the trial court’s findings were clearly erroneous.  On appeal, the Seventh Circuit upheld the trial court’s decision and that the patent was invalid. 

 

The court discussed at length the mechanics of turning live birds into dinner fare, including the biology of rigor-morits and how to stick the pieces together by “mechanically working pieces or chunks of meat to form a tacky exudate which could be used to cement abutting meat surfaces together.” 

 

Finally, we have the case of Greenburg Smoked Turkeys, Inc. v. Goode-Cook, Inc.  This was a lawsuit that was filed in 2010 in Texas.  The case involves a claim by the plaintiff that the defendant violated the plaintiff’s copyright by publishing instructions for cooking turkeys that it sold through its website and using the plaintiff’s instructions in the process.  Greenbug asked the court for an injunction and $150,000 in damages, along with interest and attorney’s fees. 

 

It was unclear how the Greenburg case was ultimately resolved.  If you know, let us know and we will update with additional information, when available.

 

 

 

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseEmployment, Disability, and Consumer RightsFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

 

 

Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

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Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.

Andrew N. Sindler, Esq.
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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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