Big legal news! Minneapolis-based Vegan shop called ‘The Herbivorous Butcher’ is helping Vegan meat producers all over America.
In 2017, THB attempted to trademark the term ‘Vegan Butcher’ with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Unfortunately for them, their request was denied. However, major corporation Nestlé tried to follow in their footsteps just two years later in 2019. After acquiring the brand Sweet Earth Foods, Nestlé started producing deli slices with the phase ‘The Vegan Butcher’ on it.
So Nestlé decided to go to the US patent office themselves to trademark the term ‘The Vegan butcher’. The exact same as The Herbivorous Butcher, except it added the word ‘the’ in front of it. This application was nearly approved before THB stepped in and filed an opposition. They had learned a valuable lesson during their application progress. One of the founders, Aubry Walch stated, “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. It’s a movement and shouldn’t belong to a corporation or any one business.”
Nestlé has since ditched its efforts to trademark this term as well as the terms ‘The Original Vegan Butcher,’ ‘The Vegan Butchers,’ and ‘Vegan Butcher.’
Why does this matter? If young Vegan companies such as THB were not allowed to use certain phrasings because it was owned by major corporations, thousands of startups would not be able to get their foot in the door. Marketing is key when it comes to promoting a business and something as oxymoron as the Vegan Butcher is an attention grabber to Vegans and non-Vegans alike.
Words hold a strong power in society. They create associations, connotations, and trigger memories in people’s minds. The Herbivorous Butcher is changing the way we see the word Butcher to make it more compassionate.