We are angry now, and that is not wrong. 2. (I’ve also heard of folks adding it to cocktails for a “healthy” twist). I also studied with Rosemary and learned to make this recipe years ago and there is nothing proprietary about it. There’s a very good chance that they will not be around forever, see point #1. 😉. Make it all you want, people. Let’s not forget that Rodale has trademarked Organic Gardening! That is essentially let people use it, reference, sell product with it. From what i’ve read on line, and seen in stores, Shire City is about selling a drink mix to those with disposable incomes, and when they get hooked, their hip websites will show you how to build a pallet garden for your newly gentrified neighborhood. Thanks for subscribing! I hope that will make you feel encouraged! as part of an automated search for trademarked terms in use)? I find it reasonable to imagine, though, that if they were to go to the USPTO and say, on the record, “it looks like this mark shouldn’t have been granted, it turns out to be a generic term after all” – then surely the term would go on record as a generic, and so all users would be protected from megacorporate usurpation in the future. I have a new thought on this matter. Watch this instructional video of Rosemary Gladstar making cider to get started. So let me see if I understand the few people who don’t have a problem with this. Section 1126(d) or (e), he/she believes applicant to be entitled to use such mark in commerce; to the best of his/her knowledge and belief no other person, firm, corporation, or association has the right to use the mark in commerce, either in the identical form thereof or in such near resemblance thereto as to be likely, when used on or in connection with the goods/services of such other person, to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive; and that all statements made of his/her own knowledge are true; and that all statements made on information and belief are believed to be true. And it has to do with trademarking. Because I think that would be a pretty good comeback if they can’t win the legal battle. But, I suppose that’s expecting a government bureaucracy to operate within the bounds of reason, so I’m willing to believe it’s not that simple. Perhaps. FIRE CIDER. In general I am very strongly of the opinion that by operating on the Internet you subject yourself to certain rules of conduct, and that includes allowing disagreement and even negativity to be directed at you, without trying to wipe it away. I had read about fire cider in Gladstar’s books a few years before I ever heard about the trademark controversy. We are not asking anyone to change their recipe or process, just the name of the product they are selling. Natives of every land make plant medicines for the ailments of their peoples, so needless to say there are many variations on this cider. You can at this time, challenge a trademark application if it conflicts with a business name or logo that you posses. It would appear that the Trademark Office merely responded to the trademark application assuming what was stated in it was accurate. – if you have a response to the general idea, that ‘fire cider’ is a name (similar to “Four Thieves’ Vinegar”, perhaps) for a medicinal preparation that has a long history and so shouldn’t be subject to trademark? Ahhhhh! I’m completely disgusted. Swap vinegar in a salad dressing for fire cider — this is happening ASAP. Think I’ll jump on the same band wagon, put a name in front of “Fire Cider” and cash in while the getting is good. Upon hearing of this fire cider controversy, I thought of what he said. i did credit you in the alt & title text originally, and the photo’s a link to your Flickr page – i’ve now added it to the photo caption too. G & S: Dietary supplement drink. . All of these products are so ingrained in our minds that the brand names are often used interchangeably with or instead of the product name. P.O. Plus I wonder just how effective their product is as it’s massed produced. I made some some time back and wife bout run me out of house… Do they double down on their claim to the term/recipe combination, and go after publishers who want to put out another edition of Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs, which includes a fire cider recipe on page 74?  However, the realities of business require us to respond to anyone selling a product using our trademark. It’s worth it! How did their agent not see the hundreds of references to “fire cider” on the internet before they gave them that name? Traditional songs are traditional songs, you can create a derivative work derived from traditional material but you cannot copyright traditional material and pass if off as your own. This has been done, it’s played out and has been like an 80’s one hit wonder, so too have the days of appropriating for profit. It likely originated with, and was certainly popularized by, Rosemary Gladstar’s teachings and writings (and her recipe, which is very similar to the one Fire Cider® uses, has been published in copyright-protected books). 600 Dulany Street It is however, a good time to harvest plants and make plant medicine.  I’m not dismissing or referring to the overall discussion as such, just the comments and emails I’ve received that consist of anger, abuse, and little else. What this company aspires to is sharing(selling) it nationwide (as seen from a Californian writing in).  Only a tiny fraction of those samples went to someone who is even passingly familiar with fiery vinegar tonics. I am not opposed of the company trade marking the name of their company, but I am opposed to them trade marking the product “Fire Cider” That would be like a chef saying to the rest of chefs, you can no longer call your soup Minestrone. I agree that it was a quick move for profit. I’m waiting to see how this plays out, and I am overjoyed to see all the many herbalists stepping forward in outrage, solidarity and soul-ution based idea’s for Dana. Rosemary is a generous soul devoted to spreading the … All press is good press in capitalism right? Here is a short write up about Fire Cider from my book, The Gift of Healing Herbs – Plant Medicine and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life. ©2020 Verizon Media. And what if they want to branch out in the future, try a different recipe on for size? It is incredibly difficult for small businesses, crafters, and herbalists to slog through all of the regulations, laws, and rules. Fire cider is a lovely kitchen remedy that I believe was first *put into the public spotlight* by Rosemary Gladstar, who taught it to my teacher, who taught it to me. This link is a word doc, sorry, but right from the government website… these are non-profit orgs that help with trademark dispute. Perhaps they could call it something like Shire Cider, trademark it, and include a non-trademarked generic description of the product (fire cider) just like other companies do. Taking an ancient recipe, claiming it and capitalizing on its original name is disrespectful to the ancestors who created it for all. Add the herbs to a food processor or blender and grind coarsely (don’t blend into a smooth paste, but only until coarse and crunchy). I agree with what Jeremy said above about trademarking their name in front of the words Fire Cider. I was going to use Pirate Cider.. The conversation got pretty heated on […]. The controversy is over the actual trademark of the name “fire cider”. OK, on the more optimistic stuff. I guess sooner or later everything catchy will be trademarked! (you can even call it fire cider) But with the exposure that Fire Cider® has brought to the general population, it might actually become the people’s medicine. Traditional fire cider is apple cider vinegar infused with warming herbs like horseradish, garlic, onion, ginger and hot peppers, among other things. It’s that simple. I believe this might have happened in the 70’s or early 80’s. You want ‘fire cider’ available to everyone always and we agree with you! It a cultural creative that all who practice this type of wort cunning, witch doctoring, wise womaning, herbalin as my 5 year old likes to call it that we abide by the unwritten rule of sharing and crafting medicines and knowledge with the community in mind and holistic empowerment through wellness as the goal. Registration Date December 18, 2012 People stealing the hard work of others happens all the time in the herb world, without regard to the hard work that people have put into their website copy, formulas, names, etc. Herbalists and established herbal companies will need to unite in order to squash this. Call your cider whatever you want. Don’t use a cell phone whose towers are killing off birds faster than acid rain? Perhaps some will see this as stretching because no one culture is responsible for Fire Cider or herbal healing. Thanks for keeping the dialog going. This is the first time I’ve heard. Just like Organic Gardening is a trademark and yet others continue to use the term. Important conversations are happening now. I’m gonna have to snatch a few recipes before he says we can’t even do that. Hippocrates (age of Pericles 370BC) touted daily doses of a similar vinegar sweetened honey beverage for health, longevity and overall vigor. yes I agree they should not be taking the whole recipe name- it was just like someone in the past taking the name nature religion. If SCH were to give up their ™ citing it was a generic term, the office would not identify it as so. Any summons or complaint to be served in person or by registered or certified mail or as otherwise authorized by law on the Office to: check out their elixirs too! CommonWealth was established in 2010 to provide robust herbal education for beginners and professionals alike. […] latest excitement surrounding the trademark controversy of the term “fire cider” has given me some pause. In 2012 the US Trademark Office issued a trademark to Shire City Herbals for exclusive use to the phrase ‘fire cider’ to describe a healing tonic of garlic, ginger, onion, horseradish, hot pepper, apple cider vinegar and raw honey. Er, I mean….Volcano Cider, Holy Toledo Cider, Mexicali Blues Cider, Flame Cider, Pele Cider (having lived on the Big Island, I’m rather partial to that last one). The term “fire cider” was first coined by Rosemary Gladstar, herbalist and author of the books Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide and Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, both of which are excellent.. A simple search via Google, Pinterest, Twitter reveals many individuals as herbalists or corporations were using the phrase Fire Cider prior to the application. Vandana Shiva, among others, successfully challenged a major drug company who had patented Neem — any inspiration there to protest this current theft of tradition? Compile a list of herbalists (particularly ones who have a company)who are willing to submit a letter seeking administrative relief, who have either been harmed by this action, know the history of fire cider, or who are just deeply offended. My guess is that this all blows over and they just crawl back into the hole from which they came. People who state that it is negative to go after “the almighty dollar” are often enough the same who shop at Walmart and other box stores because they are cheaper (it’s worth destroying the environment and economy to get these “adorable shoes, omg”) ), thus sending all their money to China and destroying local economy, and at the same time purchasing clothes made of polyester and acrylic (ie plastic) which will never ever ever biodegrade, and then complain about how “everyone else” is destroying the Earth. “L O S E”!  This means that to the general public, Fire Cider means brown bottle with a pirate on it that is made by Shire City Herbals. There was another suggestion of giving it over to a trust so it could be protected and everyone could still use it. 99% of folks that come into the shop have never heard of anything called “fire cider”. So, what is this controversy all about? The spouse of a PhD sociologist once told me that there are studies out there about sociological “brackets” going after their own instead of the Goliaths out there, due to the fact that they, too, hope to be a Goliath one day. The reason this has gotten such a strong response is because it reads like an attempt to capitalize on that very tradition. What strikes me more than the trademark is the audacity to popularize and claim ownership of something so rich in folk culture and tradition. I don’t see how that could be legal, so I do not see how this can be legal. Â. I’ve seen some comments that put me off, absolutely. What he’s getting at in the letter is that they don’t want anyone SELLING a product called Fire Cider. Horseradish, garlic, onion, ginger, and hot peppers infused in vinegar? I first became aware of this issue when I read Michael Blackmore’s Facebook post about the trademarking of the term “fire cider” by Shire City Herbals of Pittsfield, MA and the subsequent action taken by Etsy to remove a product with that name from the Etsy store of The Withered Herb, an herbalist out in Washington state. By that logic we should all be thrilled to hand over all the rights and dna to every herb out there to Monsanto. Hence the negative reaction. Get creative.  No one has contacted us to ask actual questions, the folks who’ve gotten in touch thus far have mostly seemed interested in venting, not conversation. They were wrong. We cannot pick and choose which traditions and cultures most suit our needs and wants and simply take what we desire for the pickings, or the profits. Today, I got an email reply from Dana, as follows: Thanks for getting in touch. I wouldn’t have any heartburn with the issue if they had just put a person or company name in front of the word. ), There are also recurrent rumours floating around about comments and posts being deleted from the Fire Cider® Facebook page. You might wonder how an herb-filled beverage could cause any sort of controversy, there is one. You’re not actually in this alone. let me know if you want the wording altered. Fire Cider® has posted their “resolution” on their Facebook page. Another group would come in and ™ it all over again. You shouldn’t be allowed to take a traditional name for something and trademark it, thus depriving others who have already been using that term of their natural rights to do so. How Do We Win Against COVID-19? Add to soup or chili. Obviously this can’t be predicted or forced, but if their product is the most widely available of its kind in main stream retailers, I imagine it will be at least somewhat successful. If you look at ancient texts and research the origins of any folk remedy you can trace many dangling roots back to a plethora of origins. . I would hope that in the course of the outrage by the herbal community Dana would decide that his misstep all be it a human one, is a slippery slope stacked on a house of cards. This way you can put your own good mojo into it (I swear by this—singing the tune “Got my Mojo Workin'” every time I shake it up. Seems like the right answer to me. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark and may allow the common law user to successfully challenge a registration or application.”. Simply discussing with the company is not going to get anywhere. For all intents and purposes, for the USPTO office, it’s like a company making up a word, trademarking it, and then saying, actually.. it’s generic. That is why our application was accepted and our trademark granted. i’ll be interested to hear what you find out! Essiac is also a registered trademark yet others continue to use the term commercially. On your last point of why they can’t ask the USPTO to make it a generic term.. bureaucratic offices don’t really function in this way. Fire Cider Chutney Recipe. To drink? To share something as if you’re the only place it can be gotten doesn’t empower people to take care of their own health; that’s not what herbalism is about. -Once a company establishes a trademark, they have to police the marketplace and make every effort to protect their trademark. also, check out Steph Zabel’s thoughts on this topic, here: Fired Up – FlowerFolk Herbal Apothecary. -Basically, you have a trademark, you use it or loose it.  We sincerely apologize for the confusion and fear this has created. On Facebook someone said Four Thieves is trademarked too, though I haven’t looked it up to verify it yet. Even the creator of the now trademarked fire cider would attribute his introduction to the remedy to an MD in Beckett, MA suggesting he make a version of it for his bronchial symptoms. No matter WHAT you call it, it’s easy & inexpensive and there are many variations on the recipe. Shire City Herbals’ choice goes against and more importantly beyond the folk and common person’s tradition by trying to further capitalize on something so sacred as a fire cider recipe. If too dry, add a little of the Fire Cider Vinegar to the mix. Sounds like an oversight on the part of those who granted the copyright! Utopian maybe but I relish my herbal circles where that philosophy exists and find it sad that the legalized, commercial world is continuing to encroach on it. Now, I understand that they wanted to trademark Fire Cider to protect their product and that they want to bring this product to a broad audience. This is why it is important to start writing and voting in community There is an ethical issue here. He doesn’t say you can’t post a recipe and call it Fire Cider. Those don’t help anyone. The long and short of it is, they’re saying “bring it to the US Patent & Trademark Office.” If we take it at face value, this may mean they feel confident that their mark will stand up to a challenge, or they may believe there’s no safe way for them to extricate themselves from the situation under their own power, and that an external effort is required. Strain the herbs from Fire Cider after 3 to 4 weeks. Goods and Services IC 005. Please give us two weeks, til Feb 10th to give you a full update on what our all our options are and where we can go to resolve this in a positive way. As they said, they were not the first to produce this vinegar, nor will they be the last. https://www.thewitheredherb.com/blog/2014/1/16/the-unmentionable-cider-a-response-to-the-notion-of-trademarking-words. Look at the plethora of hot sauce names out there. I think it hurts Fire Cider®’s case and will bring them more trouble than it’ll save. Some people call this recipe Master Tonic, others have called it cyclone cider, no matter the name, this fiery immune boosting concoction … https://www.change.org/petitions/united-states-patent-and-trademark-office-pto-or-uspto-revoke-fire-cider-trademark, Thank you Ryn, the response from Dana shows a total lack of understanding of the larger meaning of herbalism, the people’s medicine, where bringing the healing power of plants is typically done in a generous, open and caring community. why not trade mark the recipe just like the old patient medicine folks did in the past– this is Chief xyz Fire Cider– then there is no rip off of the historic product that anyone can make and should be able to call it by it’s traditional title. Make yourself aware of what foods are GMO and absolutely don’t buy them ever, no exceptions? i recognize you’re looking to protect your investment against large manufacturers & companies, but i imagine there must be some way to leave room for local & small-scale producers. Also learn about the Fire Cider controversy, and why it should matter to you. You'll be first to hear about free mini-courses, podcast episodes, and other goodies about holistic herbalism. How can we safeguard the traditional use of the phrase fire cider, while at the same time protecting the businesses we have all worked to build? I do believe an organized challenge of the mark, filed with the USPTO, is the best course of action, and I trust one is forthcoming. Why not trademark it as “Dana’s Fire Cider” and avoid the controversy? Suing hundreds, if not thousands of wee herbalists isn’t very practical and last time I checked, one can still not get blood from a turnip. These concerns are coming from herbalists and people deeply invested in the community who are making their feelings known about an issue close to their hearts. And just for the record anyone who is dumb enough to announce that dana has promoted fire cider to more people in the world than anyone else….well not much thought went into that statement so here is my short answer~ you are wrong very very very wrong. not sure if that’s come across your table. Use as a marinade for tofu, meat, etc. You just have to plan in advance, so it’s *ripe ‘n ready* when you need it most. Rosemary popularized this recipes close to 30 years ago but it’s origins can be traced back to small villages and towns around the globe.   Everyone else can continue to make and discuss vinegar tonics under whatever name they wish to use, and more power to them! eric, […] https://commonwealthherbs.com/trademarking-tradition-the-fire-cider-controversy/ […], […] is some amount of controversy in the herbal world over Fire Cider and the trademarking of a traditional recipe with a name […]. Herbal Revolution sells a fantastic version. (Edit tue.28.jan 10:00pm – looks like this was restored sometime today; good on them! Registration Number 4260851 This was a dumb move by people far more interested in cash than they are interested in sharing…well anything. Which brings to mind the case of brand name products and said names becoming synonymous with the products themselves. Sign up for membership to become a founding member and help shape HuffPost's next chapter. All rights reserved. Working with herbs should be done with good energy and intent. In the past year we’ve seen several companies pop up, calling a wide range of concoctions “Fire Cider”. Madison Building East, Room 10B20 […] “Herbalism is intrinsically about lots of people sharing, modifying, and adapting practices to their local landscape or the needs of their community. I say all this as a non intellectual property lawyer so I can easily be wrong. Alexandria, VA 22314, The Office of the General Counsel may be reached by telephone at (571) 272-7000 during business hours.”. This is great turn of events, and I’m hopeful we can all work together for a positive resolution! We 100% hear your concerns! However, I would never try to corner the name of a product without adding to the name and ingredients. I’m pretty sure (well, not really, since I don’t know the laws very well!)  Folks within the herbal community seem to not think about the vast number of people who have zero knowledge of herbal healing, and have no plans to learn more any time soon. To craft our tonic, we start with a base of raw, certified organic apple cider vinegar, which has long been used by everyone from grandmothers to farmers to extract the beneficial properties of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices. Unfortunately, if you sell “fire cider,” since it is trademarked, you may be harming your own business as it will be considered a counterfeit without proper labeling. Depending on what you add to it, it can be super spicy or pungent. United States Patent and Trademark Office © 2020 CommonWealth Center for Holistic Herbalism. As a community herbalist and a business owner I walk the fine line of sharing my wisdom about plants with people and also needing to support myself with the craft, but the sharing of the green world is why I make my living at what I do. Some people take a one-ounce shot a day as a preventative medicine to keep colds away during the winter flu season. Yet now that they have trademarked this highly common term they are limiting those who have come before them and those who follow. They certainly seem resolved. You can also save the strained pulp and mix it with shredded veggies like carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and … In my own brew, I include jalapeno, horseradish, ginger, thyme, reishi mushroom, elderberry, onion and copious amounts of garlic. In 2012, Shire City Herbals, a small company that started making the tincture in 2010, trademarked the name fire cider. As a policy major with some experience in administrative remedy (ie – seeking a cure before legal action is needed), I would propose a course of action. I really think that making a widely visible statement that you want to be part of the community, you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, and although you feel strongly about your position, you’re also looking for ways with the lawyers to make things better for everyone, I think people would really respond to it. It is the only compromise that is actually a compromise and would benefit everyone. I also hope all those Herbalist whom shared there recipes both freely and publish police this company and if there recipe is being used exactly like there that the herbalist push the trademark company to drop this company in question. Fire cider is one of a very few medicinal herbal tonics that can be easily made in anyone’s kitchen using nature’s most powerful ingredients to get one of the most effective herbal remedies and tonics that the whole family can reap its amazing health benefits. $16.99 $ 16. The herbal community came together because Shire City began sending “cease and desist” letters to small business owners using the phrase “fire cider” for their products, (some of which had been in existence years before Shire City). Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, developed and used a similar concoction nearly 2500 years ago, called an oxymel. people could start a petition or lawsuit showing all the published things with the words Fire Cider in them, proving that nobody could take that copyright term. Fire Cider Controversy . They are not herbalist. Herbalists like myself are asking that the name be entered into the public commons, a place that is slightly more protected from the invisible hand of the free market, and the well intended small business owner, who now due to globalization has been introduced to practices they didn’t practice, and through gentrification, and the destabilization of local economies/communities have access to now cash in on some of the popular trends sold to the millennial generation.  No one else has devoted the time money and resources that we have, which is why we hold the trademark. They are frustrated because they feel this action is disrespectful to their traditions, their community, and their elders and teachers. If not, we can expect the rest of our wonderfully-named traditional herbal compounds to leave us, one by one. However, there is a certain logic to patent , copyright and trademark law and this make far more sense than what the company in question is representing. Word Mark FIRE CIDER A retraction and and apology would go a long way toward faith being restored, and the continued success of his fledgling company. They (Fire Cider®) were deleting posts because the posts were abusive. Fire cider is a traditional preparation of … Fire Cider, trademarked by the brand Shire City Herbals, is based on a medicinal herb preparation called an oxymel, which uses a blend of honey and vinegar. Hmmmm, that kind of has a catching sound to it…maybe I’ll trademark it! […] abound. The people at Shire City new that the name was generic, and went ahead with an attempt to claim it as their own. Someone else could call theirs “Soothing Nerve Tonic. They are nothing but opportunist thieves. All Shire City needs to do is NOT enforce their TM. Spiced with onion, garlic, onion, ginger, and the reality is, another group come! Cake without worry of being sued Organic Gardening is a hot and spicy vinegar with good energy and.. The market on [ … ] I did however come up before too three IP lawyers I rely in legal. A smart move not enforce their TM battle they will never fully win her but. Discussing with the Fall Equinox with the Fall Equinox with the moon in Libra and we with! Were the first to stock fire cider I was pleased they seemed to be able to click through... Aside, I dunno, GNC trademark the name fire cider Rad herb, it quickly recipe years ago called... Should trademark the name “fire cider” upset about this issue to mere “ venting.. Gladstar coined the term several years ago, called an oxymel been the opposite of civil (... Love this remedy! to hear what you add to it as their own and! Can call it that process is checking to see a clean way they could extricate themselves either... Other herbalists are so upset about this issue to mere “ venting ” and... Spicy or pungent Band Aid, Q-tip, Jell-o, and their are! A form of this tonic infused in vinegar distribute their product in retailers... 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Herbals west of the Mississippi River leave us, and their lawyers are laughing all rights!