There’s more drama percolating among the Yellowstone cast and crew, but this time the trouble is brewing off-screen.
Yellowstone’s creator and showrunner, Taylor Sheridan, is taking star Cole Hauser to court over their respective brands, accusing Hauser of “trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising,” according to a lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Texas on Nov. 21.
The court filing, reported by People, accuses Hauser’s newly launched Free Rein coffee logo of using a “mark confusingly similar to” Sheridan’s Bosque Ranch, noting that both companies use branding marks with two overlapping letters.
The Bosque Ranch is the name of the property where Yellowstone is filmed, and is owned by Sheridan. Its logo has the letters B and R, intertwined, in line with the branding designs ranch owners use to symbolize ownership. Bosque Ranch also has a coffee line, which features the ranch’s logo. Hauser, who plays Rip Wheeler on the Western series, also uses an intertwined F and R for his coffee logo.
The suit alleges Hauser’s logo is “strikingly similar” to Bosque Ranch’s registered trademark, and is purposefully used to “mistake or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association” with the ranch.
“A little over three months after Sheridan announced Bosque Ranch Craft Coffee, another Yellowstone star, Cole Hauser, launched Defendant Free Rein and began selling ‘Free Rein’ coffee, ‘Born from the cowboy tradition,’” the documents stated.
The lawsuit continued, “Neither Hauser nor the Defendants asked or received permission or authorization of Sheridan or Bosque Ranch to use a mark confusingly similar to the BR Brand for virtually identical goods.”
Both men began working with coffee in the second half of 2023 — Bosque Ranch partnered with the Community Coffee brand in June and began producing his product, while Hauser bought a small-batch coffee bean roasting facility and launched Free Rein in October.
The lawsuit comes after Paramount announced that Yellowstone will come to an end next year, after the second half of Season 5 airs in Nov. 2024.
The first half of the season, which ended Jan. 1, marked the end of Kevin Costner’s time as the show’s main star. He said he was leaving Yellowstone to pursue writing, directing and starring in his own series of Western films.
However, NBC reports that in September, during one of Costner’s divorce hearings with his wife Christine Baumgartner, the actor claimed Yellowstone still owed him US$12 million and that they might have to take the matter to court.