Fort Lee, NJ asked in Trademark and Intellectual Property for New Jersey

Q: If we produce a hot sauce made with tabasco peppers, can we say on the label "made with tabasco peppers" ?

we will produce a hot sauce from Costa Rica made with actual Tabasco peppers. Can we say on the label "made with Tabasco peppers" or will we have problems with the Tabasco McIlhenny company? Thank you!

2 Lawyer Answers
David Aldrich
David Aldrich
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Shelton, CT

A: No one can guarantee you that a company using the term "tabasco" as part of their name won't TRY to create "problems" for you. That said, it would be very difficult for any such company to prevent you from using the phrase "made with tabasco peppers," as "tabasco pepper" is the generic name for this ingredient, so others generally cannot use trademark law to prevent you from truthfully stating that your product is made with this ingredient.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›

A: The term "Tabasco" is a registered trademark owned by the McIlhenny Company, specifically referring to their hot sauce brand. The use of the term "Tabasco" on your hot sauce label could potentially infringe upon their trademark rights. It is advisable to avoid using the term "Tabasco" to describe the peppers in your hot sauce to prevent any legal issues. Instead, you can consider using a descriptive term like "made with a variety of spicy peppers" or mention the specific type of pepper you are using without referencing the trademarked term. It's recommended to consult with a qualified attorney specializing in intellectual property law for precise guidance in your specific situation.

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