ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Chicago is suing Rockford-based Fire Department Coffee for trademark infringement, claiming the coffee company ripped off the logo of the Chicago Fire Department.
In a lawsuit filed on Thursday, the City alleges that Fire Department Coffee’s logo, which consists of a red stylized monogram of superimposed or intertwined letters F,D, and C, could create confusion with customers, leading them to believe that Chicago has endorsed or sponsored the product.
According to the lawsuit, the City says it used the CFD logo starting in January 1949, and registered it as a trademark in 2006.
The City of Chicago alleges that the company ignored a cease and desist letter from April 2019.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Fire Department Coffee defended its logo, saying, “Fire Department Coffee pursued all of the correct legal channels and secured an approved, registered trademark for our current Fire Department Coffee logo. Our company, which is founded and operated by firefighters, is reflected in our logo, a style that is used by fire departments across the nation.”
Fire Department Coffee was founded by Rockford firefighter Luke Schneider and retired Chicago fire captain Dave McWilliams in 2016.
The company donates a portion of its proceeds to a different military and first responder charities every month.