Chris Baca and Jared Truby, the chill Santa Cruz coffee bros better known as Cat & Cloud, are being sued. Did they steal someone’s killer wave? Did they harsh someone’s vibe in a felonious manner, possibly related to a wicked 360 ollie of some sort? No and no. They are being taken to court by Caterpillar Inc.
Caterpillar, “the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturer with net revenue exceeding $54 billion in 2018,” owns the trademark for “CAT”, the shorthand moniker they go by that is plastered over all their equipment. Cat & Cloud owns the trademark for their name as it relates to the coffee space. Caterpillar is suing Cat & Cloud to “cancel their trademark.”
In a podcast published on May 20th, Baca and Charles Jack—the third founder/owner of Cat & Cloud—share their side of the story. According to Cat & Cloud, the initial notice of potential litigation came on August 4th, 2018. After filling out “70-question interrogatories” and spending thousands of dollars on legals fees—the coffee company expects to spend upwards of $20,000 once it’s all said and done—Baca and Jack say they have decided to not “roll over” but to fight what they consider to be a frivolous law suit.
Now, a petition has been created on Change.org to “tell Caterpillar Inc. to stop bullying Cat & Cloud and other small businesses.” In a little over a day, the petition has already received over 500 signatures, and the number continues to grow with each subsequent browser refresh.
The saga of Cat & Cloud v Caterpillar Inc. appears to be just the latest example of brands vigorously pursuing copyright claims in the coffee space. This is an issue we profiled at length in Jenn Chen’s landmark three-part investigative feature on intellectual property in coffee, which you should definitely read here (part one) (part two) (part three).
Sprudge Media Network have reached out to both parties for comment and will update this article once we hear back.
This story is developing…
Top image from Inside Cat & Cloud’s Santa Cruz Dream Cafe