How much thought have you given to your vegan trade mark?

Your world is changing, challenging your ideas. But protecting your intellectual property must remain a top priority.

Take a look at the vegan movement that’s gaining momentum at the moment. Not only is it encouraging you to learn more about nutrition and how you can improve your diet, but it’s also inspiring you to become greener. Here at Ward Trade Marks, we’re embracing the plant-based ethos – not just for Veganuary – making it a new way of life. So far, so good.

What does all this have to do with trade marks?

Well, right now, there’s a great swathe of new trade mark registrations with ‘vegan’ in them, or related to vegan foodstuffs. Therefore, it’s vital that you choose your trade mark carefully.

It’s all in the vegan trade mark name

When coming up with a trade mark, especially one that’s related to a specific area (such as veganism), it’s important not to go down the descriptive route. They don’t tend to be the strongest and therefore, tricky to register.

The best idea, as discussed in an earlier post about choosing a trade mark, is to come up with something fanciful or arbitrary.

To illustrate this, we did a quick search of the UKIPO to find a couple of trade marks that are currently going through the registration process.

The first is The Vegan Takeaway Company – OK, it does ‘what it says on the tin’, but it’s also very descriptive and not particularly memorable.

However, in contrast, Vegan Stevens is a distinctive trade mark which is therefore much stronger and far more likely to be remembered by consumers.

Why descriptions matter

It’s tempting for many businesses to jump on the bandwagon of any trend, but they must think carefully about how they’re going to do it.

A recent example is Burger King’s Rebel Whopper.

On the face of it, you might think that finally, one of the big fast-food chains is being sensitive to many people’s changing habits and coming up with an alternative for vegans and vegetarians. You’d be wrong.

The soy-based version of the Whopper is cooked on the same grill as meat burgers. According to Burger King, this new sandwich is ‘aimed at those who want to cut meat consumption.’

The social media backlash this created shows what a missed opportunity it was for Burger King.

Is yours a plant-based or vegan trade mark?

The Burger King story highlights the need for clarity between plant-based and vegan products.

A plant-based diet mainly consists of plants and products derived from plants. For some people that follow a plant-based diet, this type of diet can sometimes allow a small proportion of meat or animal products.

Veganism, on the other hand, eliminates all animal products, not just from one’s diet, but also lifestyle.

If you are running a business that falls into either of these categories, it’s imperative that your trade mark, and subsequent classification, accurately reflects your true ethos.

To make sure your chosen trade mark satisfies all these criteria, it’s vital you work with a Chartered trade mark attorney who truly understands your business. They will advise you on the strength and appropriateness of your chosen name.

It’s your business. You’ve worked hard to get where you are, so don’t risk it all by trying to go it alone. To get the best protection for your intellectual property, your trade mark has to be strong and accurate.

The latest research from The Vegan Society (2018) shows there are 600,000 vegans in Great Britain. The launch of Veganuary will undoubtedly boost those numbers. With this in mind, the vegan industry will become more crowded, making it even more important your brand stands out and is protected.