Thursday, October 24, 2013

Controversy brews in Thai Starbucks dispute

An interesting case in Thailand is getting picked up by media as a David vs Goliath type story. Mr Damrong Maslae operates the Starbung coffee stall in the Khao San area of Bangkok, along with his brother. He uses a word mark and logo that has upset Starbucks. The vendor has very clearly taken inspiration from the Starbucks logo with his STAR- with the circles/COFFEE/Stars device. 

After no response to its warning letter Starbucks lodged a court action against the stall in the Central IP/IT Court. Apparently they sought arbitration but the vendor refused, so then they obtained an injunction. He did not comply so they filed a criminal complaint for breach of a court order. He made a rather weak claim that he was inspired by green for Islam and the stars & moon is part of this by way of defence. The next hearing is 4th November.

The vendor seems determined to fight judging by his statements to the media. However media comments are more around the size differences; the usual backlash story about trademark overreaching is hinted at. 

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