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Starbarks vs. Starbucks

Owner of Starbarks, Inverness women received a cease and desist letter from Starbucks ordering the Algonquin dog daycare facility change its name and logo.

Owner of Starbarks, Andrea McCarthy-Grzybek, of Inverness received a letter from the coffee giant, Starbucks one month after opening the doggie daycare in Algonquin. 

The news that Starbarks, 220 N. Main Street, received a cease and desist letter from Starbucks, which requested McCarthy-Grzybek change the dog daycare's name, logo and website URL which has been featured on Chicago TV stations as well as in several other local newspapers over the past week. 

The Starbarks sign has some obvious similarities to the Starbucks logo. The background is green, the shape is oval and there are two stars on each side of the oval. 

McCarthy-Grzybek, told the Northwest Herald she responded to Starbucks, offerring to change Starbarks' logo from green to yellow and to replace the stars in the logo with paws. Starbucks turned down that offer.

McCarthy-Gryzbek told the Daily Herald she thought the Starbarks name was "cute and a play on words" and questioned why Starbucks was picking on her small business, according to the Daily Herald. 

Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson told the Chicago Sun-Times his company had "a legal obligation to protect intellectual property" as a way to keep exclusive rights to it. He said he hoped to reach an agreement with Starbarks out of court, according to the Sun-Times. 

Meanwhile, the local business at 220 N. Main Street in Algonquin has hung a huge sign outside that reads "The coffee giant wants us to change our name and logo. Voice your opinion on Facebook..."

And loyal customers to Starbarks as well as several others have been sounding off on the Starbarks Facebook page. Many have been supportive of Starbarks, bashing the coffee giant.  

"This is disgusting news. Can Starbucks seriously be more petty," wrote one commenter on the Starbarks' Facebook page. "They are a corporate giant bully! I think your name is adorable, and clever." 

Others said they understood why Starbucks would want to protect their brand. 

"You blatantly copied their name and logo you should have known it would only be a matter of time before this happened," according to one commenter. "People pay a lot of money to protect their trademarks. Maybe you should try coming up with something original."

What do you think? Should Starbarks have to change it's logo, name and website? Is Starbucks picking on the little guy? Vote in our poll and comment below. 

Scott October 11, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Those that don't protect their rights eventually lose them. She knew what she was copying when she did it.
MJE October 11, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Brands (colors, logos and other design elements) communicate the values and policies behind the brand. Starbucks has to protect itself against all copycats or lose legal control of their company identity.
Sophie Masterson October 11, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Considering that the test of trademark infringment is "likelihood of confusion," there is probably no infringment here. Courts will consider (1) the strength of the mark; (2) the proximity of the goods; (3) the similarity of the marks; (4) evidence of actual confusion; (5) the similarity of marketing channels used; (6) the degree of caution exercised by the typical purchaser; (7) the defendant's intent. Different factors go different ways, but I'm not sure anybody could legitimately argue that somebody driving by Starbarks thought that it was a Starbucks or was in anyway affiliated with the Starbucks brand. That is the real test MJE, and "identity theft" isn't even remotely the legal issue.
CKH October 12, 2012 at 10:01 PM
It's a play on words. Does Starbucks have a patent on the color green? On stars?? On the name "StarBARKS?" Again, it's not a COFFEE place, it's for DOGS. The owner did their homework. Do you really think they would waste their money on incorporating and signage and letterhead, etc...if they thought they would lose it all?
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