GREENFIELD — A Greenfield-based roaster Fogbuster Coffee Works has filed suit against a California coffee company, saying the roaster on the West Coast infringed on its trademark “Fogbuster.”
The company, represented by Springfield-based attorney Patrick J. O’Shea, filed suit against Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company in federal court in Massachusetts on Dec. 29.
According to its suit, Fogbuster Coffee Works has owned the trademark for “FOGBUSTER” in coffee, spices, and ground and whole bean coffee since Oct. 31, 2006. The company — formerly known as Pierce Brothers Gourmet Distributors until its rebranded in 2022 — says on its website that its signature roast is the Fogbuster, and its complaint says it is its best-selling coffee blend.
It alleges that Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company’s product, Doug’s Fog Buster Blend, violates the trademark since it uses the Fogbuster name and ships to anywhere in the country, including Massachusetts.
“Defendant’s use of the FOG BUSTER mark is likely to cause confusion in the marketplace for coffee in the United States,” the complaint states.
Fogbuster Coffee Works asked the court to prevent the California company from using the term and order it to recall or destroy items and advertising that bear the mark. It also asked the court to award it treble damages, because it claims the California company’s actions have been “intentional, willful and made in bad faith.”
Fogbuster Coffee Works declined to comment about the suit and Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company did not respond to a request to comment.
On its website, Fogbuster Coffee Works describes its Fogbuster roast as a combination of five different beans and “the darkest coffee you will ever find!”
Fogbuster Coffee says it uses air-roasting technology, which ensures that there are minimal burnt by-products. The company claims to be “part of the one percent of roasters using air roasting technology.”
Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company’s Doug’s Fog Buster Blend was named by Doug Dunlap, the company’s director of retail operations, according to a video on its website. It is the combination of the company’s two strongest coffees, Italian Espresso and French Roast, its website states.
“Fog buster…It just busts you open in the morning and gets you going, exactly what we all need, right?” Dunlap says in the video. ” … When I came up with it, I was just kinda thinking, ‘Okay, this is cool, this kinda just busts that morning fog in my head.”