I.Protect: Dumb Starbucks

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Friday, February 14, 2014


Clint Fabiosa & Ana Liza Villamor

IN Los Angeles, California, a coffee shop bearing the name “DUMB STARBUCKS” recently opened.

It uses the same trademark and mermaid logo of “STARBUCKS” but with the word “DUMB” in them.

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The appearance of the coffee shop as well as its products looks like those of “STARBUCKS.” The menu offers products like “dumb white chocolate mocha” but it gave free drinks.

“DUMB STARBUCKS” claims that it is protected by “parody law.”

In a previous article, we said that parody is a defense that may be raised in a trademark infringement suit. That a mark is intended to be a parody of another trademark does not automatically mean that there would be no likelihood of confusion, because “[t]here are confusing parodies and non-confusing parodies.” [J. Thomas McCarthy, McCarthy on Trademarks and Unfair Competition, §31.153 (4th ed. 2010)].

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 14, 2014.

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