On May 23rd, we reported on a recent podcast published by Santa Cruz-based coffee roasting and cafe brand Cat & Cloud. In the episode, titled “Being Sued By Caterpillar Inc.“, co-founders Chris Baca and Charles Jack stated their company was being sued by the Peoria, Illinois-based construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar to “cancel their trademark.” Shortly after the podcast was released, a petition on Change.org was created titled “Tell Caterpillar Inc. to Stop Bullying Cat & Cloud and Other Small Businesses.” As of publication it is approaching 12,000 signatures.
Before reporting our coverage on May 23rd, we reached out to both Caterpillar Inc. and Cat & Cloud for comment. Both brands have since replied with statements, which we are publishing here in full today.
Up first, the full statement from Caterpillar, sent to us by Rachel Potts, Manger-Corporate Media at Caterpillar Inc.:
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.
Next, here is full comment from Cat & Cloud co-founder Jared Truby:
Caterpillar has released a blanket statement that seems to lead people to consider that we may be negatively affecting their merchandise sales. They also fail to state that we are going to have to go to court to defend our Trademark. They are attempting to cancel our trademark and therefore this is far more than a ‘cease and desist'.
The most notable things to us are the lack of attempts to go after Targets “Cat & Jack”, Dr Seuss' Cat & the Hat and whats most weird is the attempt to own the term “Cat” which would mean no more printing the term Cat on any clothing for anyone ever without potential for lawsuit. We feel bullied. We feel that we aren't even close to effecting a $54 billion company.
At the end of the day, we are sucked into what will be an expensive legal battle and we feel we need to defend, not only ourselves, but the other small businesses with lesser voices & community support. America is special because of small businesses with authentic character. This feels like an attack on all of us even if it isn't meant to be.
We are so grateful for support from the community. We will be starting a gofundme to help with current & future legal fees that will continue to mount & undoubtedly be thousands more.
To those that are willing, please connect with any influencer's, any media outlet and or just post the petition to spread the word. Please note the money donated to Change.org helps fund the exposure levels, it does not go to Cat & Cloud.
Wish us luck as we are attempting to stay focused on opening our 3rd and 4th location this year.
Much love to you all,
Jared & the Cat & Cloud fam.
This story is developing…
Top image via Brand House Direct