Part of what made Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino so egregious (besides everything else about it) is that the limited release product was such a blatant pandering to the highly-publicized unicorn food trend – even by Starbucks standards. But as is the case with any trend, someone always believes they’re first and want their due respect. So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that a small café in Brooklyn is suing Starbucks, claiming the coffee giant stole the idea of its Unicorn Frappuccino from the shop’s Unicorn Latte.
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The End Brooklyn filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit in US District Court in New York on Wednesday, reports Reuters. According to the suit, The End says it began selling its Unicorn Latte in December 2016, well before the nationwide, limited-time launch of the Unicorn Frappuccino last month, and also cites similarities between the two drinks in appearance and their mutual lack of coffee. The End applied for a trademark on its drink with the US Patent and Trademark Office on January 20, but that request is still pending. The plaintiff states in the suit that Starbucks should be “held accountable for infringing, diluting and otherwise diminishing” the café’s intellectual property. As a result, The End is reportedly seeking financial compensation equivalent to all of the profits Starbucks made from the Unicorn Frappuccino, as well as an amount equal to any losses due to lack of Unicorn Latte sales. The End is also seeking a public apology from America’s largest coffee chain.
For its part, Starbucks has said the suit is “without merit.” The company also latched on to what would appear to be the obvious explanation, stating, “The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino blended beverage was inspired by the fun, spirited and colorful unicorn-themed food and drinks that have been trending in social media.”
Unsurprisingly, The End isn’t the first place to claim it had the idea for a unicorn drink before Starbucks. As we covered back in April, a small coffee shop in Texas called Frank & Joe’s says it was serving a “Unicorn Frap” at least a month before Starbucks’ big launch. In that instance, it doesn’t appear that the coffee shop took any legal action against Starbucks – possibly because the owners realized it takes the magical powers of real life unicorn dust to take down a massive company like Starbucks in court.
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