Photo: Natalie D. Via Yelp
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SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Santa Cruz coffee shop Cat and Cloud Coffee says it received a cease and desist from Caterpillar Inc. — because they use the word “CAT” in their shop name.
The large corporation has trademarked “CAT” and has taken legal action against the small business to stop them from using it. Owners of the small business say they first received the letter in August of 2018.
“It seemed ridiculous. So, we responded and got a lawyer, obviously,” said Jared Truby, co-owner of Cat and Cloud Coffee. “We asked them to further explain their case, asked them to drop it as we are in a completely different industry. They didn’t want to, so we went back and forth a few times and called them out for bullying.”
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 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. I think that is unbelievable. I don’t think that’s going to hold up.”
Some customers agree.
“I don’t think anyone correlates the Caterpillar company with their big yellow massive trucks with a small café,” said Rick Tawfik, of San Jose. “I mean, I never thought about Cat and Cloud and Caterpillar in the same sentence until we heard about this lawsuit.”
“I don’t think they have a legitimate case,” added Emma Davis, of San Jose. “I don’t think I would ever confuse the two of them. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Caterpillar Inc. says its only concern is over apparel, providing Action News with this statement:
“Caterpillar serves customers around the world, many of whom earn their livelihood with one or two machines and often a good pair of work boots. We value all of them and strive to provide exceptional products and services. This means we have a responsibility to protect and maintain the brand they love and rely on every day – including our existing trademarks.
“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 longstanding trademarks and a considerable business. We hope to resolve this issue quickly.”
Facing this legal battle has been stressful for the owners of the coffee shop, but Truby says they’re not giving up.
“I guess the good news is if somebody is intimidated by our small little company in Santa Cruz, it means we’re doing something right,” said Truby. “It leads me to believe we’re doing something that’s far more important than I can see right now.”
Truby says they’ve spent nearly $10,000 already dealing with this case. He says not being able to sell apparel for extra income will have an impact on both employees and the business.
A petition has also been started on Change.org asking for 7,500 signatures to “tell Caterpillar Inc. to stop bullying Cat and Cloud and other small businesses.” They have almost met their goal.
This story originally appeared on KSBW.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/cat-and-cloud-santa-cruz-cease-and-desist-13899034.php.