Battle brewing between independent coffee shop & construction giant heats up

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ByDion Lim via KGO logo
Saturday, June 15, 2019
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The battle brews on against a small coffee shop and a construction giant over the name "cat".

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- The battle brews on against a small coffee shop and the construction giant Caterpillar, over the name "cat".

Jared Truby, co-owner of Cat & Cloud Café in Santa Cruz has been in a state of disbelief since last August when their independent shop was slapped with a legal petition to cancel their trademark by heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar.

"It's a bit ridiculous. We rightfully own it and we feel like we're being bullied. When you walk into our quaint little shop here, I'm sure you're not going to mistake construction equipment with the café!"

RELATED: Caterpillar sends cease and desist order to Cat and Cloud Coffee in Santa Cruz

According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Cat & Cloud is among 174 registered trademarks including the word "cat". Caterpillar has filed 125 cancellation petitions so far including one to internet sensation Keyboard Cat. You may have been one of the 150-million viewers of the viral video of a feline, clad in a blue shirt, playing the piano.

Charlie Schmidt, Creator of Keyboard Cat and spoke to us about his ordeal.

"I'm just a poor artist trying to you know, maintain my integrity! Who wants to hurt a tractor company just by having a cat!?"

Caterpillar has said their petition for cancellation only applies to apparel. Something attorneys for the defendants say is a way for big companies to strong-arm small business.

"It's expensive to pay for and the lawyer fees we're told will be up to $100,000," says Truby.

Customers including tech titan Guy Kawasaki, former Chief Evangelist for Apple and current Chief Evanglist for Canva, is getting behind the café, leveraging his millions of online followers to join the effort.

"Sometimes you have to stand up for something. For the principal of it. And this is one of those times."

Actress Sophia Bush has also weighed in on Instagram to help Cat & Cloud.

Kawasaki believes not everyone at Caterpillar is aware of the trademark battle.

"When the right person finds out-- they'll say I don't think so!"

Caterpillar did not return our request for comment.

Cat & Cloud's GoFundMe page has raises about $12,500 so far to fight their trademark battle.