Leucadia ‘owner’ drops cease and desist orders after community uproar

Leucadia ‘owner’ drops cease and desist orders after community uproar
A popular "Leucadia" design. Photo courtesy of Shatto & Sons Custom T-shirts

 ENCINITAS — Fewer communities across the country have a stronger attachment to their name than the residents in the northwest quadrant of town have to the name of their community — Leucadia. 

For years, locals have proudly worn shirts and waved banners that read “Keep Leucadia Funky,” an effort to keep the laid-back, surf town vibe with which Leucadia is synonymous. 

So, when a company sent letters to several shops and groups in town — one of which pioneered the “Keep Leucadia Funky” T-shirt — saying that it alone had the rights to the name “Leucadia,” the town erupted. 

“Leucadia has always been a crazy town and people get riled up about stuff, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said JP St. Pierre, a longtime Leucadian who owns Surfy Surfy surfboard shop in town. “People were coming in bright red with steam coming out of their ears.”

The company behind the cease-and-desist letters, Flashbuz, registered the town’s name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2016 for a clothing line branded Leucadia. 

A brand counsel and manager with the company issued a statement Oct. 2, calling the cease and desist letters “a simple mistake with a swift correction,” and said that they have all been rescinded. 

But the community is not letting it go, as they see the very act of trademarking the town’s name as unacceptable. A group of residents, including St. Pierre, is rallying to have the trademark revoked. 

The saga started in mid-September, when Ryan Shatto, owner of Shatto and Sons Custom T-Shirts, received a letter from the company telling them to cease and desist use of Leucadia on its merchandise. 

Ryan’s father Jim started making the Leucadia T shirts in 1975, including the iconic “Keep Leucadia Funky” shirt with the silhouette of a Volkswagen bus with surfboards on top. 

Ryan Shatto, owner of Shatto & Sons Custom T-shirts in Leucadia, looks through some of the many “Leucadia” designs at his store. Photo by Jordan P. Ingram

Ryan said that he soon learned that Shatto and Sons wasn’t alone, and that several other shops along Leucadia’s main drag, Coast Highway 101, were also hit with the same letter. 

“I was pretty surprised, we were just settling another lawsuit and then we got this,” Shatto said, referring to a spate of Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits that several businesses along Coast Highway 101 received. “I was pretty angry, and my dad was definitely angry about it. Just, the nerve that they would have to do that. 

“Just to think of the fact that the town I grew up in and have this business in, which my family has had since 1975 in the same location, for someone to tell me I can no longer use the word “Leucadia” on apparel, it was pretty upsetting to say the least,” Shatto said. 

Shatto reached out to St. Pierre, who did not receive a letter, but St. Pierre said he was distraught by the entire episode. He and friends put information on social media, and the vitriol quickly spread through Facebook, Nextdoor and other sites. 

“When you think of a town and its name, everyone adopts the name, local businesses adopt it,” St. Pierre said. “And in Leucadia, it’s heightened. If you ask someone from Leucadia where they are from, they don’t say “Encinitas,” they said “Leucadia.”

“So to have someone trademark it, it was shocking, we were like, ‘Wait, you can’t do that. It belongs to all of us,’” St. Pierre said. “I think people like to think that our town is much more than a T-shirt brand. And the sentiment was that these guys were trying to co-opt the culture or monetize the culture, which has been more a public domain, common good and a sense of community. To me, it was really selfish, cynical and blatantly disrespectful to attempt such a thing.”

Leucadia 101 Main Street Association also received a letter around Sept. 18, Executive Director Kellie Hinze said. The group, which promotes Leucadia’s business district, quickly reached out to a local attorney who reached out to the company.

She said that the company quickly changed its tune when they realized Leucadia 101 was a nonprofit group, and even attempted to provide Leucadia merchandise.

“In a separate email, they said ‘we actually make merchandise, we can do that for you, but by that point it was too late,’” Hinze said. “We might have considered it, but to put us on notice and then to ask for our business, was unsettling.”

Chase, who is brand counsel for the Leucadia brand, which is owned by Encinitas-based Flashbuz, said that the entire incident was the result of a distribution company of the Leucadia merchandise, who demanded the company issue the letters after representatives saw the local Leucadia shirts being worn at this summer’s Leucadia ArtWalk. 

In the cease and desist order, Chase said that companies using the Leucadia name diluted the value of the company’s brand, which prompted the legal notices.

“Like many other clothiers with popular names matching locations such as Hollister® or Patagonia®, it is not uncommon to investigate infringing apparel manufacturers,” Chase wrote in the Oct. 2 prepared statement. “Unfortunately, our team served such notice on two local vendors due to misinformation. Once the error was discovered, the orders were rescinded and apologies made. It was misdirected.

“We are locally owned by Flashbuz and employ local designers for local artistic collaborations.

Our owners; Flashbuz manage many brands and are the ongoing anchor sponsor of the Cardiff

Soccer Club (Mustangs),” the statement continues. “We recognize the value of local philanthropy, especially for kids.

“It was a simple mistake with a swift correction. No harm done,” the statement continues. “We are proud to build a local, reputable brand under the name Leucadia®, here in Leucadia and never wished to disrupt another local vendor.”

St. Pierre said the bell can’t simply be un-rung with an apology. He and a group of business owners said they will see revocation based on the grounds that a town’s name cannot be trademarked.

“Any of us could have trademarked this 25, 30 years ago, but I don’t think anyone I know thinks that way,” St. Pierre said. “The town is part of people’s identities and the fabric and essence of their lives.”

41 Comments
  1. Tony Medeista 2 weeks ago

    Okay, so a company trademarks a name and because the locals were too dumb to do it they get angry and make an uproar in their little community and on the web. This is a clear case of the uneducated throwing a fit because they were outsmarted…again. Got anything to say about Hollister or other big companies that branded? Please, the locals should be getting together for book club instead of keyboard slamming, they could clearly use the book more.

    • Paul 2 weeks ago

      Hi Tony, you are what we in Leucadia refer to as a “kook.” As JP stated in the article, the people of this community do not think the way you or the people at Flashbuz do. We do not default to a position of “how can we cash in on a community feel, monopolize it, and drive other hard working businesses out.” And I’m fairly certain Patagonia wouldn’t send out a cease and desist letter to a small locally owned shop in South America making t-shirts. But if you are so stoked on this company, you should check out their rad website and buy one of their super cool surfboards. I’d recommend the Stone Steps Shredder model. You seem like a guy that would love to put your foot on the tail and smash some vert wall.

  2. SLyons 2 weeks ago

    It sounds like people are just angry that they did not think to trademark the name first. Good for apologizing and great for being a sponsor. I see that the Flashbuz company is doing good for the community but the other Surfy guy and Shatto people dont do anything for the community.

    • CoreyS 2 weeks ago

      Wow. Looser thing to say and you shouldn’t be able to trademark a towns name. Common sense

    • Erin 2 weeks ago

      They’ve been community members for decades. You don’t actually know anything.

    • Shea Roney 2 weeks ago

      Are you kidding me you kook? Surfy Surfy and Shatto have been serving the community for a LONG TIME providing and sponsoring local surf teams, charities, and the surfing community! My sister worked at Shatto in the 80’s and 90’s! Flashbuz sponsored some soccer teams which is awesome but making false accusations about the locals is NOT COOL nor will not be tolerated!!

      • Melanie Probst 2 weeks ago

        Jesus, is there no one on this site who knows law???? Their trademark is not only legal, but already been challenged and the challenger lost!!! Someone by the name of Leucadia Style. They took it to the trademark office and lost. Leucadia is a solid, legal trademark.

        • John Hester 2 weeks ago

          Can’t TRADEMARK
          Section 2(e)(2) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(2) prohibits registration on the Principal Register of a mark that is primarily geographically descriptive of the goods or services named in the application. See TMEP §1210.01(a). (Emphasis Added).
          Section 2(e)(3) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(3), prohibits registration of a mark that is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of the goods or services named in the application. See TMEP §1210.01(b). (Emphasis Added).

  3. Peter Reihenbach 2 weeks ago

    This is ridiculous! A brand name taken from a location their company is based at, is just another label that in the worst possible scenario will represent the location it was taken from in a positive way.
    And just because no one ever thought of trademarking the name Leucadia before does not justify an outrage against the people who just did, which – business-wise – in my eyes was a brilliant move! And arguing that “Any of us could have trademarked this 25, 30 years ago, but I don’t think anyone I know thinks that way” is lacking severe substance… all I hear is a lot of enviousness not having had this idea first. I would love to have the name of my hometown on my chest and would wear it with pride. Just look at Hollister for instance. Unfortunately the city I’m from does not have a brand like that but living in Encinitas for quite some time now would make me proud of this location by rocking a Leucadia shirt 🙂

  4. Mike Campos 2 weeks ago

    A failed shakedown of a small and proud community. I bet whoever had the bright idea to patient “Leucadia” had the smirk of Martin Shkreli and we know what happened to him!!

  5. Michael Schmitt 2 weeks ago

    And we can add to this list of wrong-doings: Flashbuz hires Russian trolls and/or reputation management firms to write fake comments on local news site depicting well loved and generous Leucadia family business owners as stupid yokels who do not contribute to the Leucadia community…asserting that these “dumb” locals are just jealous of those who were first to try and bastardize the name Leucadia into a Hollister-style brand. Well played, Flashbuz. Your continued ability to insult the core values and intelligence of the Leucadia community is truly astounding.

    • Mark Hunnington 2 weeks ago

      Michael, listen to what you’re saying right now… you’re literally saying that anyone, whether they live in this town or not, that sides with Flashbuz and not your locals opinions, is automatically wrong and a Russian troll or a reputation management firm. I’m sitting here on my computer in my house in Venice and I disagree with you on this whole trademark issue, so I’m a Russian troll that works for Flashbuz’s management firm right? Please, leave your ignorance out of legal matters.

      • Charles Farley 2 weeks ago

        On your computer in your house in Venice? So that makes you an Italian troll…

  6. Heather Crider 2 weeks ago

    These comments from three people defending Leucaida.us are so fake. Leucadia.us is NOT a local company. When you look at their instagran, many of the photos aren’t even of Leucadia, despite the claim. No one is buying their merchandise anywhere. Don’t come to a town and start a shake down. Trademark challenge is underway. Leucadia.us might have apologized but I don’t buy it for a minute.

  7. Heather Crider 2 weeks ago

    These comments from three people defending The company are so fake. Leucadia.us is NOT a local company. When you look at their instagran, many of the photos aren’t even of Leucadia, despite the claim. No one is buying their merchandise anywhere. Don’t come to a town and start a shake down. Trademark challenge is underway. They might have apologized but I don’t buy it for a minute.

  8. Bill Reynolds 2 weeks ago

    The first three comments on here are clearly friends with the guys who have started this new “brand”. It was the same on their social media, calling the locals “morons” and the Shatto’s disgruntled street vendors telling lies. Give me a break, Shatto was selling cool Leucadia shirts at their shop for decades while the “Leucadia Clothier” guy was in college in St. Louis dreaming of some day living the “Cali” lifestyle, btw its Callifornia. As for Surfy Surfy and the St. Pierre family, they have been in this town for generations and have done so much for this community it is laughable to say they’ve done nothing (organizing community clean ups, donations to Oak Crest Middle School, organizing local political grassroots groups etc etc). Just shows how clueless these guys are, sending cease and desist letters while directly ripping off the designs of IN N Out Burger and Corona Beer logos for the “cool” shirts. It is great they sponsor a local soccer team and love living here, it is a great place to live. But like my dad always said, “don’t poop where you eat.”

  9. Darshan 2 weeks ago

    How many Leucadian’s are steaming mad, sipping coffee after a surf in their Patagonia gear…

  10. John Hester 2 weeks ago

    As I understand this…whether Jim Shatto or anyone else back in the day could have /should have(or chose NOT TO) to the present day company that has already “TRADEMARKED” Leucadia. You Can’t trademark a geographical location. Period. Then or present day. So, they got this “OK’d” off the assumption it was a WORD & NOT a TOWN’S NAME(geographical location) and that’s where it sits in my eyes- a granted trademark that should have NEVER happened in the first place because it’s UN-TRADE MARKETABLE to begin with & is the priority that needs correcting. This is what we should not lost sight of here- the ILLEGAL TRADEMARK of our town’s name.

    So, this ISN’T a “Smart” business move but an ILLEGAL /DISHONEST business move from MPOV.

  11. Tim Ott 2 weeks ago

    I wonder how many shirts these guys actually sell? And to compare themselves to Hollister and Patagonia is not apples to apples. Maybe the name origins are parallel, but those companies are so much more than a name and t-shirts. Do people buy these shirts? I imagine a small percentage of locals might. Do they sell enough to keep them afloat, pay for inventory? I don’t get it as a business model. Maybe they should pledge 1% for Leucadia, instead of trying to hurt Leucadia. I wonder how much that would be?

  12. Erik Humphrey 2 weeks ago

    It’s just not the way we do things in this area. East Coast transplants maybe, but not locals. You can think we’re dumb or whatever, so enjoy your condescension. Envy is not one of the things we feel in this scenario. We are just not money-grubbing and opportunistic. If that evokes scorn, well, I’m sorry for you.

    • Erik Humphrey 2 weeks ago

      Dang, did I get tricked by bot accounts? I really am a dumb yokel!

  13. Mark Hunnington 2 weeks ago

    All those defending that surfy surfy or shato whatever shop realize that they attempted to filed for trademark and lost the case earlier this year right? Maybe do a little research before you take sides. The dude JP you guys are trying so hard to side with… tried to trademark earlier this year and was rejected on these grounds. Just think about that for a second. Don’t fall for the sheep mentality…

    • JP St Pierre 2 weeks ago

      Howdy. This is JP.
      Your comment is false fake news. I have never attempted to trademark Leucadia.
      A. You cannot trademark geographical locations.
      B. I would not do something that ridiculous.
      Leucadia belongs to all of us.

    • ChuckJ 2 weeks ago

      Mark Hunnington? Yeah right, nice fake name. Your ridiculous lies are not doing any favors to the company you are working on behalf of (Leucadia.us). The same company that went after local businesses who have been here for years, then were forced to embarrassingly backpedal and apologize to the town. You guys are headed for another crash and burn. Show us the information that proves the two local companies mentioned not only applied, but were turned down on trademarking rights.
      What you should really focus on is not pissing off the town of Leucadia, but hiring a strong PR person that might be instrumental in showing you how to get along with others. But really, the damage is done. Stay in Venice, Kook, and quit your job working for Leucadia.us. You suck at it.

  14. Peter Reihenbach 2 weeks ago

    Don’t hate – APPRECIATE!
    Why are there so many haters in this world always…….??? Preaching community, love and equality but getting offended over any little bullshit 🤦

    • John Hester 2 weeks ago

      This ISN’T any “little” bullshit. The community of Leucadia was pushed by this company for no reason other than the company wanted to MONOPLIZE ON THIS TOWN & KEEP EVERYTHING IN THEIR CONTROL/POCKET BOOKS.The community of Leucadia merely….PUSHED BACK in self-defense of that aggression.Question to you, Peter-Why does THIS ACTION OFFEND YOU?

      The company’s”Love” for Leucadia is defined by it’s ability to antagonize those that were here for decades/generations by stating they(the Company) should be the SOLE profiteers of the Town’s name & lifestyle that WE AS A COMMUNITY OF LEUCADIA ALL LIVED & CREATED LONG AGO.

      OUR love for Leucadia is for PROTECTING that Lifestyle from the CARPETBAGGERS/ PREDATORS moving here to aggressively profit off of that lifestyle by bullying long time businesses that helped build that life in Leucadia.

  15. Summer 2 weeks ago

    I agree with Paul Giuliano, who has served the local community as a Lifeguard and now educator since 1991. I agree with Bill Reynolds an Educator in Encinitas who is loved and respected by his students. I agree with Michael Schmitt, also an Encinitas Lifeguard who has worked hard to keep our beaches safe. I agree with Ryan Shatto, who’s family history and art is deeply embedded in Leucadia. I agree with JP St. Pierre, who’s family has been making surfboards for the local community since 1970 when Sunset surfboards was on the 101 HWY in Encinitas. These people aren’t upset because they didn’t think to capitalize on the name Leucadia. They are upset because they have lived and worked in this community their entire lives. These guys are part of WHY Leucadia is such an amazing place to live. Paul, Bill, JP, and many others have played a part in shaping this community with the sweat on their brows and genuine caring in their hearts. So, to see some greedy little pop-up company come into this community, try to capitalize on the name, try to capitalize on the culture that they helped create, and THEN turn around and try to bully them into silence and essentially call them uneducated losers for not “thinking to trademark Leucadia” Is just completely narrow-minded and shows a real lack of ability to self-reflect on the part of the founders and operators of this pop-up brand. No one wants neighbors like you.

    • Jay Renolds 2 weeks ago

      You do realize that JP tried to trademark Leucadia earlier this year and lost his case…

  16. JP St Pierre 2 weeks ago

    Section 2(e)(2) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(2) prohibits registration on the Principal Register of a mark that is primarily geographically descriptive of the goods or services named in the application. See TMEP §1210.01(a). (Emphasis Added).
    Section 2(e)(3) of the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. §1052(e)(3), prohibits registration of a mark that is primarily geographically deceptively misdescriptive of the goods or services named in the application. See TMEP §1210.01(b). (Emphasis Added).

  17. Jack Meoffe 2 weeks ago

    So gnarly bro! Everyone needs to take a rip off my bong and chill man. I can’t even deal with the negativity you dudes are flowin. Just be rad and stop being barney’s, you kooks. I’m over it bro. Like, whatever, ptobably a sponger or paddle dweeb. Peace out.

  18. vicki campbell 2 weeks ago

    Tony M, Slyons and Peter R, you are sao naïve. The whole essence of the origins of Keep Leucadia Funky is the laid back, local lifestyle enjoyed by the people of this fine city. A big business brand marketing Leucadia is hypocritical and not a great idea at all. Common geographical terms are PUBLIC Domain (sorry to shout at the locals in all caps, that is for the men I reference). If you think it is a brilliant idea to trademark something that a business is already producing and then try to stop the business from selling their own creation so that you can steal their market then you are truly jerks of the highest degree.

    I have zero respect for Flashbuz and will go out of my way to never buy anything they sell. Their response is insincere too” It was a simple mistake with a swift correction. No harm done.” As if they did not try to ruin local businesses like they attempted to do. I hope that the local businesses get the revocation they deserve and that Flashbuz is exposed as a deviant, non local brand run by greedy capitalists without regard to small businesses.

  19. Jim Shatto 2 weeks ago

    Hey Mark…the Shatto’s never tried to trademark anything…get you facts right ! These guys are just poser kooks and we will shut down this illegal trademark. It’s amazing they would come here and think they could get away with this shit. Obviously they have no clue about this town and people.

  20. Joe 2 weeks ago

    Look at their clothes. Kook wear all the way. No self respecting Californian would be caught dead in that stuff. It’s made for tourist and Midwest surfer wannabes. I’m sure the lawyers with the companies logo they stole would have a problem with them making money off their hard work. It’s yet another failed attempt to cash in on surf culture by some Kook who rode a foamy once. In n out earned it place in CA culture, same with Corona and Leucadia the town. If you see anyone around town wearing this stuff, you know they are a kook. That person will probably be wearing a bedazzled San Diego hat too.

  21. Ryan Marshall Enci Loc 2 weeks ago

    Hahaha!
    No comment

  22. Jason A 2 weeks ago

    Sure picked the wrong community to pull this crap with! 🙂 smoooth… moooves…

    I wonder if Nike knows these guys are misusing the Nike Swoosh? You’d think they’d be more considerate of the proper use of ‘brands’

    https://www.flashbuz.com/product/detail/20a31b97-cb7b-4740-80fa-ea914f039a72

    Silliness!

  23. Eve Ducati 2 weeks ago

    I’m Ryan’s mother Eve, Ryan’s dad and I started Deluxe T-shirts back in 1975. Hand painting Leucadia etc on our tees.. it never occurred to us to attempt to own in some way the name of where we lived geographically
    As Ryan’s attorney assured him this is illegal and the trademark was issued in fault..
    Doesn’t change the fact that these guys prob built their own funeral pyre in this town…

  24. vicki campbell 2 weeks ago

    Tony M, Slyons and Peter R, you are naïve. The whole essence of the origins of Keep Leucadia Funky is the laid back, local lifestyle enjoyed by the people of this fine city. A big business brand marketing Leucadia is hypocritical and not a great idea at all. Common geographical terms are PUBLIC Domain (sorry to shout at the locals in all caps, that is for the men I reference). If you think it is a brilliant idea to trademark something that a business is already producing and then try to stop the business from selling their own creation so that you can steal their market then you are truly jerks of the highest degree.

    I have zero respect for Flashbuz and will go out of my way to never buy anything they sell. Their response is insincere too” It was a simple mistake with a swift correction. No harm done.” As if they did not try to ruin local businesses like they attempted to do. I hope that the local businesses get the revocation they deserve and that Flashbuz is exposed as a deviant, non local brand run by greedy capitalists without regard to small businesses.

  25. axmel 2 weeks ago

    i just trademarked the word “surfboards”. sendin out letters now….
    so these brilliant folks who own “leucadia”, where are they actually from? by that i man born and raised.

  26. carl 2 weeks ago

    the real locals will make sure nobody buys from this evil company run by transplants who should return to their origins

  27. mari 1 week ago

    There is nothing “smart” about engaging in ethically and morally bankrupt conduct. What the Flashbuz people did is opportunistic, not “intelligent,” and their inability to distinguish between the two is unnerving. Then again, will always be duplicitous dung beetles rolling their little balls of shiny dreck into the public square, reaching their greasy fingers out to pick the pockets of honest folks, to compensate for their own lack of imagination and vision.

  28. Lauren 4 days ago

    Can everyone please go look at their instragram? I’m a social media and digital strategist based here in Leucadia. They only have 890 followers but get 16 comments + per post. They are clearly paying for the comments. Random bloggers from places like Connecticut are commenting. It’s hysterical and they need to stop.

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