Ketchup Maker Concedes to Heinz on Bottle Design
DALLAS (CN) - H.J. Heinz has emerged victorious in a dispute with a Texas ketchup maker over the use of its widely recognizable glass ketchup bottle.
Pittsburgh-based Heinz had sued Figueroa Brothers Inc., of Irving, Texas, for trademark infringement just last month.
Figueroa agreed to settle the lawsuit Thursday.
Though the company has admitted no wrongdoing, it will stop the use of the bottle design, according to an agreed motion for entry of final judgment. A permanent injunction against use of the design will take effect on Dec. 15.
Figueroa makes and sells a line of Melinda's All Natural ketchups that feature spicy peppers, including habanero, jalapeno, chipotle, and the ghost pepper Naga Jolokia, according to its website.
Heinz said that its "long use and promotion" of the "famous" marks results in it holding "valuable" common law rights over them.
It argued the bottle design is "inherently distinctive," dating back to the 1890s.
"As a result of Heinz' long use and promotion of the Heinz bottle marks, the marks have become distinctive to designate Heinz, to distinguish Heinz and its products from those of others, and to distinguish the source or origins of Heinz' products," the final judgment states. "As a result of these efforts by Heinz, the consuming public in Texas and throughout the United States widely recognizes and associates the Heinz bottle marks with Heinz."