Our services are centred around intellectual property that can be registered. We protect innovation, design, and branding across all sectors of industry, and at all stages in the supply chain.

For each IP right we offer services covering strategic advice, pre-registration searches, registrations and renewals, oppositions and dispute resolution. We handle work throughout the world, working with local colleagues in over 100 countries.


Our attorneys specialise in one or more sectors of industry, which enables them to provide quality advice with a commercial focus.

Our patent specialists have detailed understanding of the background technology, which ensures that your patent applications are prepared with the correct scope, reducing the likelihood of challenges from third parties and objections from the patent office.

They also advise whether other forms of protection would be more appropriate. Our brand specialists work with brand managers for leading brands and their advice is commercially focussed making sure that you get the best value from your budget.

Protecting the Vegan Lifestyle – Reflections on the Trade Mark Landscape


For many, January is a time to commit to resolutions and lifestyle changes. No surprise then, that it has become synonymous with Veganuary, a campaign to persuade consumers to adopt a vegan diet for the first month of the year.

In this blog we consider the respective trade mark strategies of Veganuary and the Vegan Society in protecting their IP in support of their promotion of the vegan lifestyle.

The Rise of Veganuary

Veganuary began in January 2014 and quickly gained traction. So much so that the first associated trade mark application was filed by July of that year by a UK-based charity of the same name.

The charity provides members with cookbooks and recipe guides, encouraging participants to engage in fundraising efforts. Since gaining momentum, its ambitions have also expanded beyond dietary choices, delving into areas including beauty and clothing for the promotion of a holistic vegan lifestyle.

Claiming supporters across 228 countries and territories, it has successfully applied for and owns many trade marks outside of the UK, including in the US, South Africa and Europe.

Trade Mark Challenges & Enforcement

Veganuary actively enforces its trade mark rights, as demonstrated by its opposition to an identical filed at the EUIPO. This was settled before reaching a decision, with the third-party transferring ownership of the application. This vigilance in protecting the brand ensures the campaign’s integrity and maintains the protection to use against unauthorised use of its name and associated symbols.

Most notably the stylised V (Fig 1 & 2) has become synonymous with Veganuary. It is prominently featured on its social media accounts, features on the logo for its podcast and is displayed on the official Veganuary cookbook.

Despite the campaign’s success Veganuary has only filed trade marks featuring a combination of the word ‘Veganuary’ with the stylised V device. A standalone registration for the stylised V is yet to be explored. This is perhaps because single letter trade marks are notoriously difficult to secure protection for. Especially when the letter is the first initial of a characteristic for the covered goods and services (e.g. V for charitable services related to Veganism).

Successful registration would require the submission of sufficient evidence of widespread recognition, which may be challenging.

Lessons From The Vegan Society

The Vegan Society is a long-established charity that dates back to the 1940s. Also based in the UK, it works with leading brands outside of the food industry including New Look, LUSH and SUPERDRY, helping consumers to identify the vegan authenticity of their products.

The Vegan Society filed for its first trade mark in 1990 (Fig 3). In order to be eligible for a licence to display the mark on its packaging, a product must not contain animal ingredients and must not have employed processing aids or include ingredients tested on animals on behalf of the manufacturer. It is now claimed to cover over 65,000 vegan products globally.

In 2013, The Vegan Society filed further applications to register their marks covering education and publication services. Notably, in addition to an application for the stylised words ‘The Vegan Society (Fig 4), a stylised V device (Fig 5) was successfully registered. The device features a distinctive ‘crown’ or ‘petals’ like element which likely played a crucial role in the UKIPO examiner’s decision to accept the mark as having distinctive character.

Final Thoughts

As Veganuary and the Vegan Society continue to influence global perceptions of veganism, their trade mark journeys offer insights into the challenges and successes associated with protecting a brand in a rapidly expanding movement. The delicate balance between enforcement, recognition, and distinctive design elements underscores the importance of strategic trade mark management.

This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.

Saved Staff
Staff member

Remove all

Call +44 (0)20 7242 0901
Call +44 (0)1223 360 350
Call +49 (0) 89 206054 267
Call +(00) 31 70 800 2162
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.