Starbucks parody

Starbucks parodyA trademark is a tool of communication. A name / logo gives a product or services an appearance, an identity, a personality. This appearance is formed by advertising, events and other promotional activities, plus many other aspects like the design of the products/stores etc.
Because of this function, a trademark is a valuable subject for a parody. A parody can be for example humorous or critical. Often, this is allowed based on the freedom of speech, although each time a court has to balance the right to freedom of speech against the trademark rights of the proprietor.
What is not allowed are parodies intended to sell funny stuff like the Starbucks parody we saw in Iceland. This is just an example of free riding on the reputation of Starbucks with the only intention to make money. How funny the parody is, this is not allowed. However, acting against this kind of use if quite difficult, as the origin of the goods is often difficult to retrieve.

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