May It Please The Court

RSS Feeds
MIPTC Author
About J. Craig Williams

May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
Barnes & Noble CLE Books

Weblog Comments
Return to the Weblog

Quote of the Day - If I asked for a cup of coffee, someone would search for the double meaning. - Mae West
Claim Your Profile on Avvo

Coffee Wars: Mr. Charbucks vs. Starbucks

You might be able to order a "short cappuccino" at Starbucks, but the retailing giant is big on enforcing its trademark.  So much so that a small New Hampshire coffee company, the self-styled Black Bear Micro Roastery's cup of "Mr. Charbucks," ran headlong into trouble with Starbucks over its similar-sounding name. 

Black Bear Coffee offers this page on its website with details of the litigation between the big company and their small company.  Starbucks' press page offers no comment.  Court TV interviewed the owners of Black Bear Coffee, who commented, "We're so small that there's no way, even if we wanted to, that we could cause harm to Starbucks," Jim Clark told in a telephone interview. "They did not have to go to this extent to police their trademark."

The opinion, not up on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York's website, stated (according to Court TV), "The court finds, based on the distinctive packaging and the separate retailing channels of the parties' respective products, that an ordinary purchaser is very unlikely to mistake defendant's 'Mr. Charbucks Blend' ... for one offered by Starbucks," wrote Judge Laura Swain. 

You make the call:  here's Black Bear's Mr. Charbucks (photos of the actual blend not on the site).  You likely already know what a Starbucks coffee looks like.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, January 09, 2006 at 13:43 Comments (1)


Comments by jeanne christensen from United States on Tuesday, January 10, 2006 at 21:05 - IP Logged
Hmm we once owned an Airdale (dog) from
the Starbuck line back when Seattles Best really was the best..I loved the web page created by the developer of Blackbear's Mr. Charbucks (Cali's do love those black beans and coffee for a buck no such luck. Yesterday I was discussing a leasing agreement the lessee told me the Starbucks near the gallery I need "makes" two and a half million dollars a year. I cannot imagine
why they would bother or act like a bear. But remember when they were determined to own Seattles Best we all thought ahhh leave them alone they are the best it would have been better had they left them alone it is no longer the best. I will try to buy some Italian beans from Black Bear. Thanks

Add your Comments
You may also leave audio comments by calling our audio comment line at 206-338-3088. Leave us a message and we'll post it here.

Please do not include any HTML or URLs in the comment field. If included, your comment will not be accepted.
*Indicates required fields
Character Count: