After more than four years of fighting international beverage company Campari Group in a trademark dispute, Chase Baron and Sean Smith of Denver-based roofing contractor Skyyguard won their legal battle this week.
The David and Goliath battle over their company’s logo – and its alleged similarity to the logo for Campari-produced Skyy vodka, which could impair “the distinctiveness of the famous mark,” ended with an administrative trademark judge dismissing the liquor giant’s notice of opposition.
The judge said Campari failed to prove that Skyy vodka’s logo has risen to the status of “a household name” in the U.S., so the company’s argument about potentially diluting it fell flat.
“We finally have an answer after four and a half years of fighting,” said Baron, Skyyguard’s chief executive officer, in an interview. “We always felt this would be the outcome.”
Founding the company in January 2018, the pair applied to trademark their logo that August. But they met resistance from Campari America, eventually culminating into an oral hearing in April.
While “impossible to say specifically” how much Skyyguard spent in this dispute, Baron puts that number at around $200,000 after factoring in time and lost opportunities.
Along with its office in Denver, the company — which is the two-man team of Baron and Smith, plus a number of subcontractors — has locations in Texas and Florida.
“We’re a small business, still recovering from COVID,” Baron said.
Looking forward, Skyyguard is focused on government contracts, opting out of private work. Taking on projects across the country, they recently completed one for the U.S. National Park Service in Tennessee, with another in the pipeline for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Arkansas.
Smith, the company’s chief operating officer, hopes to expand their clientele, secure bigger contracts and eventually hire employees to cover those projects.
“The only way to win is to see it to the end,” Smith said. “It’s not impossible, and I hope it inspires people.”
Campari Group’s corporate communications team and company attorney, Sabina Vayner with law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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