Starbucks continues to set its sight on world coffee domination. The latest stop on that quest is the Starbucks legal department, which is going after a London-based coffee kiosk over its name—Star Box. Apparently the tiny shop posed a severe enough conflict of interest that Starbucks got involved and demanded an immediate name change.
Star Box owner Nasser Kameli, who's been in business for five years, tells the Camden New Journal that he received a letter claiming his store name was "technically an infringement of trademark rights" that could "weaken" Starbucks' global brand.
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The coffee giant offered a goodwill payment of £300, but Nasser, a political refugee from Iran, has refused to accept their money.
“I may be small, but inside I am big,” he said . “I’m not taking their money and I’m not scared of them. But I could not beat Starbucks in court. Be realistic. They have all the lawyers – and the government – so I just made the changes.”
Changes included the removal of "star" from its name , a direct request from the hand-delivered letter that went on to advise he also " change the signage used at [his] premises, along with the stickers currently applied to coffee cups.” Kemeli simply blacked out the word "star" with a Sharpie.
A Starbucks spokes person confirmed that “ trademark law is there to protect brand identity. In this instance it was too close to our brand and could lead to such confusion.”
This isn't the first time the mermaid has gone after similarly named small businesses. New Hampshire-based Black Bear Micro Roaster was brought to court over its line of dark roast, Charbucks. They ultimately ended up winning a 14-year battle.