A tiny coffee producer from New Hampshire has prevailed in a trademark infringement case brought by Starbucks over a blend called “Charbucks”.
The small ‘company’ operates out of a barn, and uses the classic response: “We’re just a mom-and-pop little roastery”. Annie Clark and her husband Jim do not seem to agree with Starbucks’ trademark infringement claim.
They were sued in 2001 in a New York federal court by the coffee giant, stating the name “Charbucks” infringed, blurred and tarnished its famous trademarks.
After a long legal battle the small roastery prevailed: the appeal court agreed with the district court in finding minimal similarity and weak evidence of actual association between the brands.
Seattle-based Starbucks respects but disagrees with the court’s decision. And rightfully so, we think.