Legal battle over ‘Hatch chile’ name continues

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HATCH, N.M. (KRQE) – An appeals court has backed the Hatch Chile Association’s efforts to subpoena records from the Hatch Chile Company, in their ongoing battle over a trademark application.

It’s a battle that has been going on for years. The Hatch Chile Co. filed a trademark application for the name ‘hatch chile’ to be used on an enchilada sauce label and other products. The Hatch Chile Association, representing many growers, has opposed that trademark application, saying granting it to would prevent others from using the name on their products.

“We don’t want any one company to be able to prevent other companies from making enchilada sauce that has the word ‘hatch’ on it,” said Preston Mitchell, a former Hatch Chile Association Board Member. “We think that anyone that buys chile in this valley should be able to put the word ‘hatch’ on their product, in basically whatever manner they chose.”

The Hatch Chile Association is also seeking an authenticity mark that companies could lease to place on their products.

Mitchell said, “We will license our logo to anyone who uses 100 percent certified chile in their product and they can put that logo on their processed product.”

During the legal battle over the ‘hatch chile’ name, the Hatch Chile Co. fought a subpoena, ordering them to hand over documents relating to things like where their chile comes from. The association also had to turn over documents.

“They asked for documents during discovery, and we produced them all, and then instead of them producing the documents that we needed, to prove our case or build our case they filed a motion for summary judgment, they’re trying to use the documents that we had given them in order to get the case dismissed,” said Mitchell.

The appeals court recently backed the Hatch Chile Association’s efforts to get those records. Now a lower court will once again decide which documents need to be handed over.

KRQE News 13 reached out to the Hatch Chile Co. for comment but did not hear back.

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