January 24, 2007

If you are an avid football fan, you recognize the phrase “red zone” as being the portion of the field with 20 yards of the goal line. H.J. Heinz Co., the owner of a registered U.S. trademark for “HEINZ RED ZONE,” has asserted it rights in the mark against the Indianapolis Colts. According to the Indianapolis Star article (link below), Heinz sent a cease-and-desist letter to the Colts nearly a year ago, requesting that the Colts discontinue the sponsorship of the “red zone” by Red Gold, a tomato and ketchup product company headquartered in Elwood, Indiana. For the past four years, Red Gold has sponsored the Colts’ red zone, donating food to local food pantries every time the Colts quarterback, Peyton Manning, led his team to a touchdown from inside the 20 yard line. According to the article, a spokesperson for Red Gold doesn’t “feel like the name ‘red zone’ should be trademarked,” the article noting further that Red Gold is in discussions with Heinz to resolve the dispute. Heinz’s has filed three applications for “HEINZ RED ZONE,” including one abandoned application (for ketchup) and one pending application for IC 041 (education and training, described in the application as “[e]ntertainment services, namely, providing a web site featuring information and news relating to sports, sporting venues, and tailgating”) in addition to the registered mark for IC 030 (staple foods).

Indianapolis Star article: LINK
U.S. Trademark Reg. No. 3,142,801: LINK
U.S. Trademark Application No. 78/352,815 (pending): LINK
U.S. Trademark Application No. 78/263,753 (abandoned): LINK


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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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