The Grady Baby Co. & Apparel location on the Atlanta BeltLine. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

What’s in a name? Well, apparently a lot when a clothing brand and one of Atlanta’s oldest hospitals are at odds over that name. Grady Baby Company & Apparel, a popular clothing brand that took Atlanta by storm less than five years ago with its “Grady Baby” and “We Full” t-shirts and hoodies is now in a legal battle with Grady Health System, more commonly referred to as Grady Hospital.

The 131-year-old public hospital is located downtown and is one of the largest hospitals in the state.

Grady Baby Company & Apparel co-owner Terrence Albritton told The Atlanta Voice that he and his partners took all of the proper steps to trademark the name “Grady Baby”. He feels blindsided by the suits.

“We did it the right way, we searched the trademark and took the proper steps to secure it,” he said during a March 9 phone interview. “Based on trademark law we can co-exist because we’re in different classes.”

The first page of Case: 1:23-cv-00960_SCJ, the civil lawsuit Grady Health System filed against what Albritton called “a family-owned company.” Screenshot by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

Now known for being the only Level 1 trauma center in Atlanta following the closure of Atlanta Medical Center by parent company Wellstar Health System, Grady Hospital leadership filed a pair of trademark lawsuits in U.S. District Court Monday, March 6.

A civil case, the lawsuits are against Gradybaby Apparel LLC and Grady Baby Company and Apparel LLC, and claim trademark infringement for the popular and commonly used phrase “Grady Baby.” The phrase refers to people born at the hospital and has been seen on baby clothing that is often given to parents on their way home with their babies.

Albritton said he doesn’t see how the Grady Baby Co. apparel sold online and at the Grady Baby container store on the Atlanta BeltLine and what the hospital distributes can be seen as similar in any way.

“We understand that the name is part of the city’s culture,” Albritton said of the “Grady Baby” term. “We trademarked it to protect ourselves from a branding standpoint.”

The company applied for the trademark in 2018. “It took some time, but we own the trademark,” Albritton said.

Grady Hospital was once only for white Atlantans during the city’s long segregationist history. “We recaptured that name “Grady” and helped make it a badge of honor,” Albritton said.

It has been reported that Grady Health System sent cease and desist notices to both Gradybaby Apparel LLC and Grady Baby Company and Apparel LLC in December 2022. Albritton acknowledged receipt of the letters.

“It would be great as opposed to fighting over the name that we end up in a partnership,” Albritton.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...