Friday, January 13, 2006

Charbucks succeeds against Starbucks

A U.S. District Court ruled against Starbucks last week. Starbucks' trademark infringement and dilution suit was unsuccessful in shutting down Black Bear Micro Roastery's use of "Mr. Charbucks" to describe a coffee bean blend. As the CourtTV blog quotes from the opinion
"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,"
This is in contrast to the Starbucks trademark litigation recently mentioned on BoingBoing. Again from CourtTV,
"Known for its aggressive 'policing of its trademark,' Starbucks has prevailed in several similar disputes. In December, a federal judge in Oregon sided with Starbucks' demand that a coffee shop named Sambucks change its name."
These poor companies don't have enough money to defend against the monster of a large corporation whether their defense is defendable or not. How do we even the playing field in the courts so that plaintiffs and defendants of different means still have a fair outcome.

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