Based in Minneapolis, The Herbivorous Butcher was set up by siblings Aubry and Kale Walch in 2016 to sell a variety of plant-based meats and cheeses.
According to VegNews, in August 2017, The Herbivorous Butcher tried to register the trademark “Vegan Butcher” with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but were denied on the basis that the term was “merely descriptive”.
In 2017, Nestlé acquired Californian plant-based brand Sweet Earth Foods and has since released the Awesome Burger. The Swiss giant also revealed it would sell Sweet Earth vegan deli slices from supermarket counters using the phrase “The Vegan Butcher”.
As a result, VegNews reports that Nestlé applied to trademark the term with the USPTO, but was met with opposition by The Herbivorous Butcher over arguments that the term is crucial to the marketing and operations of its independent butcher shop.
Nestlé has since abandoned its application, with The Herbivorous Butcher winning the court battle. The company does not intend to pursue a trademark, as it wants to encourage companies to continue innovating with plant-based meats without potential legal recourse.
On the company’s Facebook page, The Herbivorous Butcher wrote: “Friends, we are beyond thrilled to share this news with you! The phrase “vegan butcher” shouldn’t belong to any single company, and this is also a huge victory for small businesses like ours.”
Last year, Nestlé was ordered by a Dutch court to stop using the product name “Incredible Burger” following a preliminary injunction filed by Impossible Foods.