Battle of the Unicorns: Did Starbucks steal the ‘Unicorn’ Coffee?

Veröffentlicht am: 11. May, 2017

Starbucks has been slapped with a trademark infringement lawsuit by the New York coffee shop “The End Brooklyn” in connection with its “Unicorn Frappucino” that went viral in social medias. According to the lawsuit, which was filed last Wednesday, The End alleges that they stole the Unicorn drink, that the Coffee Shop has created. It’s dominated by the colors blue and pink. They began selling it in December 2016 (4 months before Starbucks launched their version). Furthermore they have a pending Unicorn Latte Trademark Application since January 2017 …

Unicorn Frappucino vs. Unicorn Latte

Unicorn_Frappucino_vs_Unicorn_Latte

The End has accused Starbucks of trademark infringement, arguing that the color-changing “Unicorn Frappuccino” -introduced in April for a limited period of time by the coffee giant- is copying The End’s health-conscious “Unicorn Latte”, which was already sold in December 2016. Montauk Juice Factory (the owner of “The End”) was overwhelmed by the success and consequentially applied for a Trademark for the drink’s name.

Fun Fact: Neither of the drinks contain coffee.

While Starbucks’ version consists of mainly milk and sugar (39g for the latter in the “tall” version, 12oz), The End’s Unicorn is made from ingredients like dates, ginger root, cashews, blended with “healthy” dried maca root, vanilla bean, and blue-green algae.

 

The End: “Stop using Unicorn” and “all your earnings belong to us”

Unicorn_Money_Trademark

Not only do the drinks share the same name, they both look very similiar that creates confusion amongst consumers (which is the central inquiry in the trademark infringement matter).

The plaintiffs are seeking injunctive relief (immediately and permanently stop Starbucks from using “Unicorn Latte”) and want all profits that Starbucks made from the Unicorn drink, as well as monetary damages in connection with any losses that this case incurred. A spokesman for The End says:

The size of and scope of Starbucks’ product launch was designed so that the Unicorn Frappuccino would eclipse the Unicorn Latte in the market. In addition to having a highly similar name, Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino shares visual similarities to the Unicorn Latte in that both were brightly colored and featured the colors pink and blue prominently.

 

Starbucks stated the claims are “without merit.”:

The Unicorn Frappuccino blended beverage was inspired by the fun, spirited and colorful unicorn-themed food and drinks that have been trending in social media

the company said in an email.

 

Protecting your Trademark against others

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Source:

Text: Reuters.com / Starbucks Newsroom

Pictures: The End Brooklyn Instagram / Starbucks Newsroom / Graphicmontage of Dr. Meyer-Dulheuer & Partners LLP (Pictures: by Geralt and GDJ)

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