In September of 1620, a group of 102 religious separatists (now commonly known as Pilgrims) left England on the Mayflower.  After 66 treacherous days at sea, the ship landed near the tip of Cape Cod, and thirty days later, the Pilgrims traveled across the Massachusetts Bay to what is now known as Plymouth Rock. The Pilgrims remained on the Mayflower the first winter as they were unprepared for the brutal New England winter that awaited them. More than half the Pilgrims lost their lives due to exposure and disease. That spring, the Pilgrims could not have been more thankful for the Wampanoag Indians who taught them how to cultivate crops, hunt, and survive. In November of 1621, the Pilgrims had a successful harvest, and to celebrate, they invited their Native American friends for a feast, remembered as the “first Thanksgiving”.

Since then many presidents have issued Thanksgiving proclamations and issued days of thanks, but in 1863, abraham-lincoln-60558_1920Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Thanksgiving was scheduled for the final Thursday in November.  It remained that way until 1939, when the holiday was moved up a week by Franklin Roosevelt as an effort to stimulate retail sales during the Great Depression.  This effort, known as “Franksgiving,” was met with great opposition, and in 1941, Roosevelt signed a bill returning Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November.

Not surprisingly, there exist a number of Thanksgiving-related items that have benefited from strong intellectual property protection, including patents and trademarks.

Thanksgiving Patentsfrozenfowl

One of the main items consumed on Thanksgiving is turkey. Surprisingly, turkey has many patents and trademarks associated with it. These can range from methods of preparing turkey to different brands of turkey.  

preediblefowlFor some, preparing a turkey can be a challenge, fortunately,  Alan B. Rogers et al. invented a process of preparing a frozen stuffed fowl (U.S. Patent No. 2,928,748).  Peter A. Sieczkiewiz patented a METHOD OF PREPARING EDIBLE FOWL (U.S. Patent No. 2,844,844) as a way to facilitate the preparation process.

The technologies used to prepare Thanksgiving dinner have also been gasstovefrequently protected via patents. One of the first gas stoves was patented in 1894 by Laura M. Stone.  This gas stove was equipped with a roasting oven with two compartments, each having a large burner (U.S. Patent No. 518,903).

ovenroasterOne of the first roasting ovens patented in 1909 by Joseph Mathy (U.S. Patent No. 925,781) was designed so the turkey is cooked perfectly without the need to baste. The roaster creates a steam that essentially bastes the turkey on its own.

One way to cook a turkey is by using a smoker. David M. Cox, Jr. was granted the patent for MEAT SMOKER (U.S. Patent No. 4,700,618) in 1987. This particular smoker is portable and contains a fire box and a smoker oven vertically and laterally offset from the fire box.meatsmoker

A patent for a POULTRY FRYING APPARATUS (U.S. Patent No. 5,758,569) was granted on June fryer2, 1998 to Rodney Barbour.  This apparatus is designed specifically for turkeys and contains a central rod to raise and lower the turkey while allowing the user to avoid burns from the hot oil.

Once the menu is set another great way to get into the spirit of this day is with decorations, and, not surprisingly, there are numerous design patents used to protect Thanksgiving decorations.  Below is a list of a few design patents for Thanksgiving.turkeydecor

TURKEY DECORATION (U.S. Patent No. D397,955)




Thanksgiving Trademarks

When eating all these delicious Thanksgiving treats, trademarks are not usually the first thing that cross your mind.  However, the next time you sing the often misunderstood Sara Lee jingle “nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee,” keep in mind that it is a trademarked slogan (US Registration No. 1885156).  Other common Thanksgiving-related related trademarks include the trademark for Stovetop brand stuffing mix (US Registration No. 0949459) and the Butterball turkey brand (US Registration No. 1151836).

We at Suiter Swantz IP would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving and leave you with this fun poem:

May your stuffing be tasty. May your turkey plump.  May your potatoes and gravy have nary a lump. May your yams be delicious. And your pies take the prize. And may your Thanksgiving dinner stay off your thighs! ~Unknown Author