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Derby Pie

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Title: Derby Pie  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Kentucky Derby, Cuisine of Kentucky, Sweet pies, History of Louisville, Kentucky, Chocolate desserts
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Derby Pie

Derby Pie
Type Pie
Place of origin United States
Creator George Kern
Main ingredients Pie shell, chocolate, walnuts or pecans
Cookbook: Derby Pie 

Derby Pie is a pastry created in the Melrose Inn of Kentucky Derby.

The pie is a chocolate and walnut tart in a pie shell with a pastry dough crust. It is made with walnuts and chocolate chips.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The Derby Pie was created in 1950 by the Melrose Inn in [1]

The name "Derby Pie" is a registered trademark of Kern's Kitchen, which registered the name in 1968. The company uses the name in the form "DERBY-PIE®" in official literature and advertisements. The recipe is kept secret, known only to a small group of Kern family members and a single Kern's Kitchen employee (who actually mixes the recipe today). Kern's Kitchen diligently guards the trademark and has filed more than 25 lawsuits to protect it over the years.[2] The makers of similar pies have had to use a different name (such as "Pegasus Pie", a reference to the Pegasus Parade at the Kentucky Derby Festival and May Day Pie, in reference to the First Saturday in May, the day of the Kentucky Derby).

After leaving the Melrose Inn in 1960, the Kern family continued to make Derby Pie for select customers. In 1969 they trademarked the name Derby Pie to both the state government of Kentucky and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Since then, the trademark has constantly been renewed as a federally registered trademark. After Alan Rupp, a grandson to Walter and Leaudra Kern, took over the Derby Pie business in 1973, he religiously defended the trademark. Part of this defense including going after various cookbooks that named a similar pie Derby Pie. A federal judge in April 1982 ruled against a local cookbook, and demanded that the cookbook be recalled so the page with the Derby Pie recipe could be removed. The cooking magazine Bon Appetit won a temporary victory in May 1987 when a judge ruled the named "Derby Pie" generic, but the Sixth Circuit United States Court of Appeals reversed the decision, saying the Bon Appetit magazine "failed to introduce scientific survey evidence to support their assertion that the public views 'Derby Pie' as generic". Federal district courts have continued to side with Kern's Kitchen in this regard.[3] Kern's attorney, Don Cox, estimated in 2008 that the company had sued to protect its trademark 25 times.[4]

In May 2013, the Electronic Frontier Foundation inducted Kern's Kitchen into its "Takedown Hall of Shame," claiming that "the company behind the most litigious confection in America is going after individual websites that post new recipes for derby pies."[5]

See also


  1. ^ Kleber, John E. Encyclopedia of Louisville. (University Press of Kentucky). pg.246.
  2. ^ Barrouquere, Brett. "Kern's Kitchen Sues over Pie Trademark". Food Manufacturing. Associated Press. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ Kleber pg.246.
  4. ^ Pearl, Charlie (17 April 2008). "Still playing the pie game". Frankfort, Ky.: The State Journal. Retrieved 29 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Higgins, Parker (6 May 2013). "Takedown Hall of Shame Inductions, May 2013". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 
  • Hornung, Lisa (2005-04-20). "The Pie Smackdown".  

External links

  •, official web site of Kern's Kitchen
  • Protecting the Derby Pie name and recipe (
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