A well known Portland-based coffeehouse has settled a trademark infringement lawsuit that it filed last year against a Utah company that was using the acronym CBD to promote and sell its coffee products.

Coffee by Design, which operates three coffeehouses in Portland and one in Freeport, reached the settlement with defendants 4Bush Holdings LLC of South Kaysville, Utah, and Desert Lake Group, LLC of Cottonwood Heights, Utah, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Portland.

Under terms of the consent judgment, which was approved Friday by U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen, the defendants must make a settlement payment to Coffee by Design. There is no mention of the settlement payment amount in court documents and the owners of Coffee by Design have chosen not to disclose the payment.

The consent judgment says that the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the defendants, who do business in Utah as CBD Coffee.

Torresen’s order means that the defendants must stop using CBD as a trademark and will rebrand and repackage their coffee to avoid consumer confusion.

Attempts to reach the defendants’ attorneys for further comment Monday night were unsuccessful.


Coffee by Design co-owners Mary Allen Lindemann and Alan Spear filed the complaint on May 28, 2019, in U.S. District Court. They argued that CBD Coffee of Utah was creating confusion in the marketplace by associating the Portland coffee roaster with cannabis products.

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a hemp-based compound known for its calming properties. It has grown in popularity, especially in the CBD-infused coffee market.

“The defendants in this case were marketing coffee under the names CBD Coffee and Coffee + CBD,” Lindemann said in a statement issued Monday. “Using CBD in that way will lead customers to think they’re buying our CBD-brand coffee.”

Spear said that he and his business partner do not have a problem with coffee being marketed with CBD as an ingredient, but he added, “CBD should not be used as part of a coffee company’s trademark or brand name, which was the case here.”

“We’re very pleased with the result and we hope the court order will provide useful guidelines to other companies who want to use cannabinoid in their coffee but not infringe our trademark and not cause consumer confusion,” Lindemann said.

According to the company’s website, Lindemann and Spear opened their first coffeehouse on Congress Street in 1994.

Although the vacancy rate in downtown Portland was 40 percent at the time, they hoped their venture would serve as a gathering place for the community and help revitalize the neighborhood. The company currently operates coffee houses on India and Diamond streets in Portland and one in Freeport at L.L. Bean’s Flagship store.


CORRECTION: This story was updated at 8 p.m. on Jan. 14, 2020, to correct the spelling of Mary Allen Lindemann’s name. 

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