Real-Life Copycat Lesson #19: Construction Equipment Manufacturer and Local Coffee Shop Fight Over “Cat” Trademark

23 October, 2019

In 2016, co-owners Jared Truby and Chris Baca opened a coffee shop in Santa Cruz, California called Cat & Cloud. Additional local locations soon followed, with a total staff of 50 employees. In addition to coffee and drinks, they sell shirts, hats, water bottles, mugs, and other merchandise featuring their brand. Cat & Cloud owns a federally registered trademark for use in relation to coffee and tea (Class 25), coffee shop services (Class 43), and clothing (Class 25). Caterpillar, the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer, has asked The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to cancel Cat & Cloud’s trademark registration for apparel. In addition to equipment, Caterpillar makes work boots under the Cat brand, and believes that Cat & Cloud is infringing on their mark with clothing, potentially negatively impacting their merchandising sales. Nicole Junod, team leader at the downtown Santa Cruz Cat & Cloud, estimated that the trademark dispute has cost $10,000-$20,000 in fees. Cat & Cloud is one of a handful of small businesses with the word “Cat” in their name that Caterpillar has targeted for infringement.