Hormel Foods Opposes Wayne Farms’s Trademark Application for “Always Tender”

On Tuesday, Hormel Foods LLC filed an opposition before the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board against Wayne Farms, LLC’s trademark application which included the phrase “always tender.” The opposer claimed that an approval of the trademark would cause confusion.

Wayne Farms wanted to use the mark “100% Farm Raised Ladybird Premium Chicken Always Tender” for use with its chicken, specifically, “uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast fillets with and without rib meat, chicken tenderloins, whole and split chicken wings, all of the forego-ing sold by the case and in bulk.”

Hormel cited that they had received a trademark for the phrase first in March 2000, and two other times in 2006 and 2011. The opposer used the trademark initially for beef and later for its pork. In 2009 the company began using the phrase “always tender” in marketing for various meat products. The company claimed it’s trademark is distinctive and that it is already widely used.

The opposition stated, “through its use in interstate commerce, including substantial advertising and promotion by Opposer or its affiliates, and has developed and represents valuable goodwill to the benefit of Opposer.  Opposer’s Mark has trademark significance to purchasers and potential purchasers.”

It claimed that because the phrase “always tender” is used in the trademark request from the applicant, and because its use is related to meat, that customers would be likely to confuse Wayne Farms’ chicken with Hormel’s products. Hormel further alleged that this could cause damage to its brand because customers could believe that the applicant’s products were produced by Hormel. The company asked the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to deny Wayne Farm’s request for registration of the trademark.

Hormel is represented by in-house counsel Sarah Nelsen. Wayne Farms is represented by David C. Brezina with Ladas & Parry. Wayne Farms also filed a suit earlier this month seeking compensation for the farm’s expenses assisting its employees who are recovering from opioid addictions.