Bangkok — Starbucks has sued a Bangkok street vendor for 300,000 baht (US$9,663) for copying its famous logo on his push cart coffee business.
The US-based global coffee chain is also demanding 30,000 baht (US$966) per month plus legal fees in its Trademark Act violation complaint against Damrong Maslae, a father of six children and owner of the small ‘Starbung’ coffee and tea business.
Starbucks claims the vendor has designed his own trademark based on the Starbucks logo, with a circle and dark green background and a human figure inside the circle.
“Starbung” (“Bung” is the vendor’s nickname) is also in capital letters and placed in the same position as the Starbucks name on its logo.
Starbucks filed a petition with the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, seeking the arrest of Mr. Damrong and his brother Damras Maslae, plus financial compensation, according to an ASTV Manager report. A November 4 trial date was set.
The coffee chain said it owns the trademarks “STARBUCK” and “STARBUCKS” with a mermaid figure inside a green circle. The trademark is registered all over the world, including in Thailand, and it is publicly well-known.
Starbucks said the vendor and his brother intended to violate the Trademark Act when they created a similar mark in September 2012, which could cause the public to misunderstand and believe their mark was that of Starbucks, according to a Bangkok Post report.
Starbucks said they sent the brothers a warning letter in October last year, but they ignored it. Rather, they expanded their Starbung mark onto stickers, wrappers and clothes. Another letter was sent, but Mr. Damrong instead demanded 3 million baht from Starbucks.
Mr. Damrong said he has adjusted the design of his mark after the first letter, which now features the figure of a man which represents him inside the green circle, which also has a star and crescent and halal. The green color represents his Islamic religion.
As for his request for 3 million baht, he said if Starbucks wanted him to stop using the mark, he would be willing to sell his business to them for that amount.
He also said he would fight the case, but had no money to pay the requested compensation.
He said he sells his coffee drinks for 20-30 baht (US 65 cents-$1.00) each, about one-third of what Starbucks charges, and has to care for his six children with the earnings.
Starbucks reported revenue of US$13.3 billion (412 billion baht) last year with a net profit of US$1.38 billion. It has almost 21,000 coffee shops in 62 countries, including 171 in Thailand, said reports. Image/http://www.zodio.com/business/detail/123976103/starbung-coffee