A coffee shop in California says construction equipment maker Caterpillar is trying to bulldoze their trademark for clothes and shoes.
Caterpillar Inc. Versus Cat and Cloud Coffee.
That’s what jarred Truby and his team in Santa Cruz are facing. A legal issue surrounding a trademark around the word “cat.”
“It seemed ridiculous, so we responded, we got a lawyer obviously and asked them to further explain their case, asked them to drop it as we are in a completely different industry and they didn’t want to, and so we went back and forth a few times and called them out for bullying,” said Truby.
Truby says when they opened the shop almost three years ago, they couldn’t have predicted something like this happening.
“Could anybody imagine a 54-billion-dollar machinery company coming after a coffee company? I don’t think that’s even in the cards,” said Truby. “The first biggest thing they want us to do is not print the name Cat and Cloud on anything again. And so, I think that is unbelievable. I don’t think that’s going to hold up.”
Customers like Rick Tawfik agree.
“I don’t think anyone correlates the Caterpillar company with their big yellow massive trucks with a small café, I mean I never thought about Cat and Cloud and Caterpillar in the same sentence, until we heard about this lawsuit,” he said.
But Caterpillar Incorporated says they’re only concern is over apparel, providing this statement:
“We are not suing Cat & Cloud, not targeting a small business and not focused on Cat & Cloud’s primary interest: coffee. We’ve simply asked the U.S. Trademark Office to remove Cat & Cloud’s trademark registration on footwear and apparel only, products for which Caterpillar has long-standing trademarks and a considerable business.”
Facing this legal battle has been stressful, but Truby says they’re not going to give up.
“I guess the good news is if somebody is intimidated by our small little company in Santa Cruz, it means were doing something right,” he said.
Truby says that they’ve spent nearly $10,000 so far with this case. He says the lost income from not being able to sell apparel will impact the business and employees.
Meanwhile, a change.org petition asks people to “tell Caterpillar Inc. to stop bullying Cat and Cloud and other small businesses.”
The petition has received more than 8,800 signatures — nearing the goal of 10,000.