Despite the fact that one of the smoker's owners is a dairy farmer whose family belongs to the creamery cooperative, partner Dick Crossley says the company received a "cease and desist" letter from the cheese maker in 2002, ordering it to stop using the name "Tillamook."
Crossley says the meat company and the cheese company had gotten along fine since 1975, and their products have been sold in the same catalogue.
But this month, a federal judge will hear arguments in a lawsuit the smoker filed against the creamery, after the cheese maker tried to get the meat smoker's federal trademark revoked. Creamery CEO Jim McMullen said in December that he couldn't comment on the battle with the smoker, since it's in litigation. But a former manager confirmed that the two companies used to get along fine.
Crossley blames the change on a new regime of California farmers who are part of the cooperative, saying they have influenced the decision to turn the creamery into a national player, and decided to try to lock up the Tillamook name. The newspaper says the name is borrowed from the county, the city, the valley, the river, and a coastal Indian tribe.