MOTHER EARTH NEWS

‘Fire Cider’ Ruled Generic

As the recipe, first dubbed “fire cider” by Rosemary Gladstar in the early 1970s, spread, herbalists prepared their own proprietary versions and took them to market. For example, herbalist Nicole Telkes, director of the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine, blended “Texas Fire Cider,” which she regularly sold at her local co-op in Austin, Texas.

Then, in 2012, a company named Shire City Herbals trademarked “fire cider,” and herbal businesses started to receive notices asking them to stop selling products by that name. Telkes reached out to resolve the issue, but Shire City maintained the trademark. Ultimately, Telkes, as well as Mary Blue of Farmacy Herbs and Katheryn Langelier of Herbal Revolution, who came to be known as the “Fire Cider Three,” began a campaign to render the fire cider name generic. They believed trademarking a traditional herbal product could set a dangerous precedent. “We saw this as a canary in the coal mine for what’s to come of herbal remedies and our culture as herbalists,” Telkes says. Shire City then sued the Fire Cider Three in April 2014.

The presiding judge ordered pro bono representation

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