Vegan ‘Herbivorous Butcher’ in trade mark dispute with Nestlé
In 2017 sibling owned US brand ‘Herbivorous Butcher’ applied to register ‘The Vegan Butcher’ as a trade mark which was later denied by the USPTO.
The Minneapolis based vegan butcher failed to gain trade mark protection based on the grounds that the mark applied for was ‘merely descriptive’. However, their applications for ‘Meat-Free Meats’, ‘Sister ‘ and ‘Brother Butcher’ were accepted.
Similar to the UK, US trade mark laws state that any trade mark applications that are wholly descriptive of the goods and/or services will not be deemed able to function as a trade mark.
The dispute between the two brands arose earlier this year when Nestlé applied to register an almost identical trade mark, ‘Vegan Butcher’ which was accepted by the USPTO in February. The Herbivorous Butcher unsurprisingly filed for an opposition claiming to have used the terms ‘Vegan Butcher’ as a part of their branding for a number of years.
The siblings have raised the argument with the USPTO to either have the right to trade mark the terms themselves or for the phrase to remain un-trademarked in order to prevent other individuals from gaining a monopoly over the words. “For some reason it was denied for us, but not for them,” co-owner Aubry Walch said in a statement.
In accordance with the USPTO, the case is now entering into what is known as the ‘discovery period’ which is a opposition stage that allows the parties to request and receive information from each other in order to evaluate their claims and defenses. Following this, a court case or trial may be on the cards – it will be interesting to see the outcome of the dispute!