Starbucks Trademark Infringement Claim against Belgian Coffeehouse

The trademark in question is the Starbucks logo of a circular emblem containing a mermaid with the text in bold letters around the emblem, spelling out “STARBUCKS”. In 2013 a Belgian coffeehouse, owned by Hasmik Nerseyan, submitted an application for Trademark Registration with the European Union Intellectual Property Office. A couple of months later, Starbucks hit back with an opposition for the application in regards to Article 46.

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The EUPIO had dismissed the case, regarding that the logos were conceptually similar, but differed in their distinctive characteristics. The court summarized the case as having “a low degree of similarity”. Nerseyan’s coffee house logo has a circular emblem with the words “Coffee Rocks”, spelled out in bold letters around it and a musical note fashioned from coffee beans inside the logo, where Starbucks has used a mermaid.

Recently, Starbucks reopened the case for an appeal against the closing summary of a “low degree of similarity” to the EU General Court, stating that the logos are not only visually similar but phonetically as well. The Court agreed with the re-appeal and has discontinued the 2015 dismissal of the case, allowing Starbucks to proceed with its claim.

Read the full story here

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