Starbucks owns the word “Frappuccino”. Like any big corporation, Starbucks has attorneys that defend against any infringement or unauthorized use of their property. For example, you could not open up a coffee shop – or any other kind of business, in fact – and call it “Starr Bux”. Try it and you’ll get a terse letter from Starbucks’ lawyers.
That’s what happened to a small brewery in Missouri that served a brew they called “Frappicino”. The letter from Honigan Miller Schwarz and Colin, LLP (Attorneys and Counselors) informed the owners of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in the St. Louis suburb of Cottleville that they were “likely to cause confusion, mistake or deception among consumers who may mistakenly believe that Exit 6 or this beer product is affiliated with or licensed by Starbucks Coffee Co., when they are not.”
Jeff Britton, owner of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery, fired back at the attorneys, referring to their “frappuccino” trademark only as “The F-Word” in his written correspondence. He said, “We never thought that our beer drinking customers would have thought that the alcoholic beverage coming out of the tap would have actually been coffee from one of the many, many, many stores located a few blocks away.”
He further assured the lawyers that Exit 6 would also “stop production of our ‘Starbuck-McDonalds-Coca Cola-Marlboro Honey Lager’ for fear of further repercussions.”
To top things off, Britton voluntarily enclosed a check for the full amount of profit made from selling “Frappicino” beer. The check was for $6.
Britton scanned the original cease-and-desist letter from the attorneys, his response letter, and the check he sent Starbucks, and posted the entire exchange on Exit 6’s Facebook page. As of his latest update:
“So this Starbucks thing has gained some traction I guess. I just want to thank each and every one of you for the kind words, the messages, the phone calls and every thing else showing your support for Exit 6 Pub and Brewery and small businesses everywhere. Never thought it would get this crazy. Not only has it blown up on line but I will be on Fox and Friends Thursday morning to discuss it more. Wow. Thanks for the support.”
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