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News: Crowned Heads Faces Legal Challenge Over Headley Grange

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Having just landed at retail stores, the new Headley Grange cigar from Crowned Heads is the subject of a legal challenge by a 145-year old association of farmers.

The Tennessean is reporting that the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry has taken issue with the name of the company’s Headley Grange cigar, which is named for the building in London in which significant parts of Led Zeppelin’s album IV were recorded, including the song “When the Levee Breaks.” Jon Huber of Crowned Heads said he wanted to blend a cigar that tasted the same as the famous drum beat intro of that song.

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After the story broke, there was a simple “thank you” to a supporter from the official Crowned Heads Twitter account:

According to the article, the NGOPH filed an objection with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office just days before the comment period on Crowned Heads’ trademark filing for Headley Grange ended. The group feels that consumers would confuse the cigar with them, and that the Headley Grange cigar could tarnish the group’s image.

The Grange is a Washington, DC based organization that claims approximately 160,000 members across the country. Founded in 1867, the group is a nonprofit, nonpartisan fraternal organization that advocates for rural America and agriculture. Among their functions is to lobby for and service as a voice of farmers across the country. On their website, they cite their fervent protection of the Grange name and say that:

Businesses that wish to use the name Grange have found success in our licensing model. From daycare centers to restaurants to prepared food vendors, we have many licensees throughout the United States. Licensees enjoy the benefits of our established national reputation while providing excellent products and services to their communities.

Crowned Heads has filed a federal lawsuit in Nashville’s U.S. District Court, which seeks to get them relief from the Grange’s opposition. The basis of their lawsuit says the association is guilty of widespread trademark bullying. A spokesman for the Grange did not say whether a counter-suit was in the works.

The article says that the Grange employs a trademark protection manager and sends more than a dozen cease-and-desist letters per month. The group took on Tyson Foods, the world’s largest meat processor in 2009 and won a case against them, forcing them to change the name of their Grange and Grassland product.

The Headley Grange was reviewed on halfwheel in early August.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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