By Don Nelson
Just weeks after launching an aggressive re-branding campaign under a new name, Lariat Coffee Roasters of Winthrop is being asked by Twisp-based Blue Star Coffee Roasters to revise its logo and make other changes in its marketing efforts.
Lariat owners Lori Loomis and Bob Gamblin said they intend to stand behind Lariat’s new logo and other marketing materials.
In a letter sent to Loomis and Gamblin, attorneys for Blue Star owners Dan and Meg Donohue contend that the black silhouette of a horse’s head that was unveiled as the new logo when Backcountry Coffee Roasters was changed to Lariat is a possible trademark infringement. Blue Star uses the silhouette of a horse on its espresso blend.
Additionally, Blue Star maintains that some of the verbiage and typefaces used on Lariat’s redesigned packaging also infringe on Blue Star’s trademark.
The letter they received is a “cease and desist” request, asking Lariat to stop using the horse logo and other materials or risk possible legal action, Loomis and Gamblin said this week.
The Donohues said this week that the action is not personal and is only meant to protect their trademark interests.
“It’s strictly a business matter,” Meg Donohue said. “We want to give them [Lariat] room to respond and work with us.”
Dan Donohue said that it’s important for Blue Star to protect its brand and to head off possible confusion in the marketplace.
Loomis and Gamblin said they were surprised by the Blue Star letter, don’t agree with its assertions and intend to defend their logo and marketing materials. Loomis said that some of the verbiage on the Lariat packaging that was referenced in the Blue Star letter had been in use previously.
Loomis and Gamblin said their re-branding effort was an attempt to further distinguish themselves from Blue Star in the marketplace, not to emulate the Twisp company.
“The last thing I want to be is like our competitor,” Loomis said. “We are definitely trying to be different.”
“There was no ill intent [in the re-branding effort],” Gamblin said. “There’s room for both of us. We’re both growing.”
In sum, the Donohues and Loomis and Gamblin used the same word to describe the disagreement: “unfortunate.”