Starbucks Wins Big in Trademark Infringement Case

Starbucks Delivers Wake Up Call Over Dabuccino – Seattle-based Starbucks Corporation recently won a $500,000 default judgment against James Landgraf,  an Oregonian artist, for trademark infringement, dilution, and tarnishment. Landgraf created a line of bongs labeled “Dabuccino” that very closely resembled the plastic cups Starbucks uses to serve millions of cold beverages daily. Landgraf even went so far as to design a Dabuccino logo that incorporated Starbucks’ iconic siren mermaid in a round green logo.

With cafes countries all over the globe, Starbucks may be the most famous coffee brand in history. According to Forbes Inc, Starbucks is the 45th most valuable brand in the world in 2016, valued at $11.9 Billion. The brand is protected by over 500 trademarks registered with the United States Patent and Trade Office, in addition to registered copyrights and other internationally protected intellectual property.

This isn’t the first time that Starbucks’ has been in the news for defending their brand from infringement, dilution, and tarnishment. In the now-famous “Charbucks” case of 2013, a small New Hampshire-based coffee roaster successfully argued that their brand “Charbucks” was sufficiently different from the “Starbucks” trademark to prevent consumer confusion, and that it was intended as a parody to make fun of the quality of Starbucks’ coffee, not as a primarily commercial activity.


, but those that incorporate a reference to or parody of another existing brand are very risky. Here, Starbucks joins other major corporations (like Hersey’s) in fighting cannabis puns that borrow their fame.

Ammon Ford | October 28, 2016