Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan sues star Cole Hauser over coffee trademarks

Between the extended hiatus forced by the WGA & SAG-AFTRA strikes and Kevin Costner not even wanting to return, Yellowstone hasn’t aired any new episodes since January. So what has Taylor Sheridan — Yellowstone creator, writer, showrunner, director — been doing with himself this year? Coffee. Specifically, launching Bosque Ranch Craft Coffee, named after his production company. The only hitch is, a new coffee cowboy has strolled into town, and it’s Yellowstone cast member Cole Hauser. So now Sheridan is suing his show’s star, Hauser, over Hauser’s Free Rein Coffee logo looking too similar to Bosque Ranch’s logo. I’ll give him credit, this is a plot twist I did not see coming.

“Lawyers are the swords of this century,” a young John Dutton once told his son in Yellowstone. “Words are weapons now.” The man who wrote those words wasn’t kidding. Taylor Sheridan, scribe and creator of the popular western drama, has had his legal sword unsheathed all year. Due to behind-the-scenes contract disputes between Sheridan and leading man Kevin Costner, Yellowstone hasn’t had a new episode since January. Now, the Dutton progenitor’s camp is in another legal tussle with another one of his stars. This time? It’s over coffee.

Earlier this fall, Cole Hauser, who plays the fan-favorite cattle rancher Rip Wheeler, launched Free Rein, his very own coffee company. The company sells an espresso blend titled “American Dirt” — and the packaging boasts that it’s the drink of choice for early risers and hard-working cowboys. “I am American Dirt,” Hauser told Esquire when Free Rein first launched this fall. “So, I just wanted to do something that sounded original, patriotic, and filthy.”

Around the same time — during the SAG-AFTRA strike and Yellowstone’s indefinite hiatus — more Yellowstone-adjacent coffee companies hit the market. Costner partnered with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Paramount released a line of coffee and steak rubs with on-screen chef Gabriel “Gator” Guilbeau, and Sheridan launched a Bosque Ranch Craft Coffee collaboration with Keurig. For the Yellowstone creator’s empire, this town, apparently, wasn’t big enough for all four of ‘em.

According to the Northern District of Texas’ federal court, the Sheridan-owned Bosque Ranch sued Free Rein for trademark infringement shortly after its launch. The complaint alleges that the “FR” brand logo for Free Rein is strikingly similar to Bosque Ranch’s “BR” design. According to San Angelo Live, “This resemblance, Bosque Ranch contends, is likely to cause consumer confusion.” Neither Free Rein nor Bosque Ranch have commented publicly on the filings.

As the future of Yellowstone remains up in the air, it’s quite an interesting move from Sheridan to sue what loyal stars he has left. The series will already most likely end without Costner’s involvement, according to Hollywood insider Matthew Belloni. That fact alone may have already been the final nail in the coffin for Yellowstone fans to diminish the upcoming series finale next November. But now, a strike against Hauser as well? The fall of the house of Dutton may just be a war waged off-screen.

[From Yahoo! Entertainment]

Do the “BR” and “FR” logos look alike? Yes, they do, and you can check them out here. But there are clear differences when you compare them side by side. I’m not sure how literally trademark law gets applied to logo graphics in these cases. Cole Hauser probably should have done better due diligence to make sure that Free Rein’s logo looked more distinctive. He’s kind of offered up this lawsuit to Taylor Sheridan on a silver platter (or cardboard coffee cup, if you will). For his part, Sheridan could probably do with less caffeine and more chill pills. But he must soldier on! Not for himself, but for the legions of Bosque Ranch coffee drinkers who expect quality brews, the kind that only Sheridan can deliver. Much the same way that only he can write authentic Western soap operas. Bosque Ranchers know great coffee when they taste it. They just don’t know a “B” from an “F,” LOL.

Photos credit: Brandi Benton/ Images, IMAGO/RW / Avalon and via Instagram

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34 Responses to “Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan sues star Cole Hauser over coffee trademarks”

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  1. Branvoyage says:

    Sheridan is an ass but Hauser did copy his logo.

    • NG_76 says:

      I was just coming here to comment the same thing. Hauser did copy the logo.

      • Noo says:

        Both logos are meant to look like cattle brands which all have the letters intertwined in a small area so they are compact designs. You can google cattle brands.

        I know there’s IP lawyers on here can you say that your concept to use a cattle brand for your coffee company logo is your unique concept? Both logos are referential to cattle brands to begin with.

    • HandforthParish says:

      He did, didn’t he?

    • BeanieBean says:

      No, not really. As @Noo mentions, they look like cattle brands. If you were to see a collection of cattle ranch brands, you’d see a certain familiarity among all of them; they simply look like brands. You could throw in Ginger Rogers’ “Rogers Rogue River Ranch” brand, if you want. It’s a backwards 4 coupled with an R. Similar to these two, except hers was an actual brand because she had an actual ranch.

  2. Abby says:

    I was prepared to scoff at this, but the logos do look really similar.

    Fun fact – I went to an event at Bosque Ranch this past weekend. It is an equestrian center in Texas, and they also hold events, in addition to being a set for some Sheridan shows like 1883. Taylor’s wife Nic has a bar on site and that’s where the event was. She was there and so was the actress who played Beth Dutton! I was working the event so I didn’t talk to them, but I just thought I’d share! 🙂 Bosque is pronounced boss-kee, if you’re wondering.

    • Noo says:

      @abby maybe “boss-kee” is the Texan pronunciation? Bosque is a Spanish word and the pronunciation is more like “boss-kay”. I believe it means bush or forest.

      • Abby says:

        @noo I don’t know! The way they pronounce is it there is not how I thought it would be pronounced. 😆

      • Lucy says:

        It’s the south Texas pronunciation, just like Bexar is pronounced Bear.

        And this is a stupid lawsuit, is Taylor going after other cattle brand themed brands? They’re all similar because they’re all patterned after the same thing. I guess he’s going to pay for the biggest ranch in the world by suing everyone with a cattle brand adjacent logo.

      • Abby says:

        Yeah that could be – I’m from Bexar County. I just have never encountered the word Bosque before this ranch.

        Yeah of course cattle brands are similar, but two coffee brands made by business associates in the same state? It’s prob because they’re similar companies. Not just the logo itself.

      • VilleRose says:

        Bosque is Spanish for forest/woods and pronounced “Boe-s-keh” (not like the o in boss) in Spanish or at least that is the closest approximation I can do in American pronunciation. So bosskee is like nails on chalkboard for me lol. (I lived in Spain for a few years).

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        @Lucy “Boss-key” is a white pronunciation and has nothing to do with south Texas. Same thing with Bexar. It’s just white people mispronouncing words.

        Heck, they couldn’t even say Deaf Smith’s nickname correctly (it’s pronounced Deef Smith…heavy sigh).

  3. Gabriella says:

    It IS super similar, but it’s clearly also a reference to cattle brands. Also, if Cole only has one location, and in San Angelo of all places, is there that much damage?

    • Lucy says:

      Right, if his location is San Angelo we’re talking about maybe 10,000 people tops who get dizzy from the confusion of the brands and buy a cup of coffee from the wrong one?

      What a freaking bully.

  4. SarahCS says:

    I know nothing on this topic but my assumption is they are both based on ranch brands that would have been (still are??) used to mark animals as theirs. They do look extremely similar and in today’s corporate world you absolutely need to watch for that, but maybe this is why.

  5. Anna says:

    If you take a smattering of brands on mustangs or cows, you’ll see they are all very similar. They are copying the brand (as in branding iron) style, not each other. I think this is just an unfortunate coincidence.

  6. Elsa says:

    This is a BAD look for Sheridan. I like his shows but no one seems to have a good word to say about him.

  7. Bumblebee says:

    It’s ONLY the brands themselves that look similar. Everything else on the packaging is very different, even the names Free Rein vs Bosque Ranch and colors blue & white vs copper & black.

  8. Af says:

    They are both based on cattle brands. It won’t go anywhere but to make them mad at each other and ruin the show more. It’s like using Ariel font. Sheridan seems pretty tightly wound.

  9. Colleen says:

    Taylor Sheriden is an awful human. However, trademark law is about possible logo/brand confusion. Two coffees, two Yellowstone connections, similar marks – Cole Hauser should give up his trademark – it is a no win for him.

  10. one of the marys says:

    I want a brand for the shift worker, schedule chaotic, sleep late and stagger downstairs kind of person (ahem) American Grind? Stunned & Confused, with interlocking letters? Or the most accurate in my experience, What Day Is It? I asked someone last week, what day is it? The answer, December 2nd. And I asked, No I mean what day of the week? They could have replied anything and I would have sorted my brain accordingly

  11. JaneS says:

    TS has gone off the deep end.
    Sheridan,Costner, Hauser are all multi-millionaires many times over.
    Even Ryan Bingham now has his own brand of liquor. Bingham is worth $18Million.
    Why all the side hustles?
    Sheridan has a bajillion spin offs on deck, has a part ownership in one of the biggest ranches ever.
    How much is ever enough? Ego the size of Elon Musk.
    I can’t wait for it all to come crashing in on him.

    Coffee? Folgers works for me. LOL

    • coriolis says:

      Yeah, Costner is now the rep for Green Mountain coffee. Never seen the show and thus don’t understand the proliferation of these people on the coffee market; is coffee a plot point?

      • BeanieBean says:

        All I can think of is 19th century cowboys out on the range? Yeah, they’re going to have coffee boiled up for breakfast. Standard stuff.

      • JaneS says:

        Kevin Costner has a net worth over $400 Million and is still working steady.
        Why on earth would anyone need/want more?
        Endorsements, money, ego, ego, ego.
        Wealth hoarding tools.

        Cole Hauser is Hollywood nepo royalty, isn’t he the grandson of one of the Warner Brothers?

        Taylor Sheridan has a net worth of ? $250Million.

        None of these men are working cowboys. Actors, and overpaid actors at that.

  12. girl_ninja says:

    “I am American Dirt,” Hauser told Esquire when Free Rein first launched this fall. “So, I just wanted to do something that sounded original, patriotic, and filthy.”

    All these guys really think they are cowboys. 😂😂😂 Bitch you are not cowboys, you are ACTORS. Mess.

  13. Latte says:

    Team Cole Hauser on this, only because Rip is my favorite character 🥰

  14. VilleRose says:

    Cole Hauser also admitted to getting in a fight with Taylor Sheridan the second time they met in an interview and apparently he thinks it’s okay to settle issues with fights and he’s gotten into a lot of bar fights so huge red flag for me. I’ve seen some episodes of Yellowstone here and there because my mom watches and I don’t like Rip’s character. I think these two (Taylor and Cole) have a very complicated relationship. And yes, the logos do look very similar.

  15. Kelly says:

    Both are variations of brands so, yeah, they are going to be similar. Sheridan looks like the horse’s ass he is.

  16. BlueNailsBetty says:

    1. Bosque Ranch is nowhere near San Angelo. I think the confusion is due to a newspaper in San Angelo reporting the story.

    2. Bosque County and the Bosque River are not in south Texas. They are up near Waco.

    3. The correct pronunciation of Bosque is boes-kay however, the accepted pronunciation is boss-key. White people screw up most Spanish words, amirite?

    4. The logo looks like a zillion other westernized logos. Neither of these logos are original or unique (pronounced uni-key in Boss-key County…/sarcasm).

    5. Taylor Sheridan is a narcissist.

    6. Why is everyone on Yellowstone so hyped over coffee (pronounced covfefe by all these right wing asshats)?

    • BlueNailsBetty says:

      I just realized Hauser’s coffee company is based in San Angelo…which explains why it is in this story.

      I’m a goof…

      • BeanieBean says:

        But a funny one! I particularly liked #6 above. Let me be a bit pedantic: the Spanish pronunciation is bo-skay, with a long ‘o’. Spanish syllables do not end on a consonant, which is your boes-kay.

        Also, we American pronounce ‘foreign’ place names/words however we want, we don’t just restrict that to Spanish words! Pierre, SD (peer); St. Louis, MO (Lew-is); Monticello, GA (‘mon-ti-sell-o’); Detroit, MI; and so on.

      • BlueNailsBetty says:

        @BeanieBean That is so true. I focused on Spanish because it’s everywhere in Texas and there are innumerable bastardizations.

        And thank you for the Spanish pronunciation lesson! I didn’t know about the consonant thing.

  17. JaneS says:

    Yellowstone: More Chief Rainwater, Mo Brings Plenty, Teeter, and Tate.
    The rest of ya, go away. LOL