Vegan company The Herbivorous Butcher won the court battle with food giant Nestlé for trademark of terms “The Original Vegan Butcher,” “The Vegan Butchers,” and “Vegan Butcher”.
Minneapolis-based vegan butcher shop The Herbivorous Butcher was founded in 2016 by brother and sister duo Kale and Aubry Walch. At the time it was the first vegan butcher shop in the United States. The duo was selling their home-made deli plant-based meats, vegan sausages, and dairy-free cheeses.
The Herbivorous Butcher applied to register the trademark “Vegan Butcher” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in August 2017. The application was denied as USPTP stated that the term was “merely descriptive.”
Around the same time Nestlé bought Sweet Earth Foods - California based plant-based meat company known for its vegan Awesome Burger. The company announced it would be selling deli slices from its own deli counters inside supermarkets using the name “The Vegan Butcher.”
Nestlé applied for a trademark term, “The Vegan Butcher” and in September 2019 its application was nearly approved when The Herbivorous Butcher filed an opposition with the USPTO to bar the company from trademarking the term.
Even though they won the case, brother and sister don't have plans to trademark the Vegan butcher name any more.
“I hope they realized, as did we, that the term ‘vegan butcher’ belongs to all the plant-based meat mongers that are working towards better food and a better tomorrow for animals and humans alike,” Aubry Walch told VegNews. “It’s a movement and shouldn’t belong to a corporation or any one business.”
Happy about the ending of the court battle they wrote on Facebook: “Friends, we are beyond thrilled to share this news with you!
“The phrase ‘vegan butcher’ shouldn’t belong to any single company. This is also a huge victory for small businesses like ours.
“Thank you for continuing to support us, especially through the past year which has been filled with uncertainty.”