Plant meat producer The Herbivorous Butcher, owned and run by brother and sister team Kale and Aubry Walch, has entered into a dispute with Nestlé over whether the phrase “The Vegan Butcher” can be trademarked. The Minneapolis brand hopes to either obtain the legal right to continue using the phrase or to otherwise fight for it to stay in the public domain.
According to the Star Tribune, the dispute over the vegan butcher term has been playing out since June this year and could potentially continue for another year or more. The Minneapolis-based Herbivorous Butcher has used the term “vegan butcher” on its packaging for several years, and is aiming to prevent California’s Sweet Earth Foods, acquired by Nestlé in 2017, from trademarking the term.
In 2017 the family brand applied to trademark several phrases including “vegan butcher”, “Meat-Free Meats,” “Sister Butcher” and “Brother Butcher,” and were granted allof their applications except for “The Vegan Butcher,” which was denied on the grounds that it is apparently “merely descriptive” – however in February this year the same application was granted to Nestlé and Sweet Earth.
“For some reason it was denied for us, but not for them,” Aubry Walch said. “There are a lot of vegan butcher shops across the United States. We’re all a part of the same team. We just don’t want a largest company in the world to come in and say we’re going to take ‘The Vegan Butcher.’ It felt suspicious that it was immediately OK for them, but not for us.
“They can drag us through court until our great-grandchildren die,” Kale Walch said to The Star Tribune. “It’s still a cause worth fighting for.”