Originally posted 2009-10-14 13:17:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Has there ever been a more star-crossed brand maintenance campaign than that of that troubled leftover from the dot-bomb days, Starbucks?

No respect in Korea…  embarrassed in Africa… cross-branding eye-crossing in Manhattan… compromising in Arabia… and now this, from Monica Guzman:

Looks like the Rat City Rollergirls will get to keep their logo after all.

ratcitystarbucksThe roller derby team got into a bit of a dispute with Starbucks this spring after the coffee giant asked the team to change its logo, which it deemed too similar to its own.

Both logos are round, “with two stars, sans-serif font and a babe in the middle,” as reporter Andrea James put it.

James wrote more about the dispute in May.

Both the Slog and blog Citizen Rain have pointed out that the coffee giant’s trademark inquiry has been terminated on the United States Patent and Trademark Office Web site.

By “inquiry” she means that after Starbucks’ successive extensions of time to oppose the registration of the Rat City logo were filed, the opposition period was terminated and, indeed, the mark was registered on September 9th.

And hardly surprising.  Talk about a stretch!

Or am I being too contrary?   Ok, so LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION seems quite un… likely.  Infringement, no.  But, after all, is there much question that the mark on the left evokes the famous mark on the right?   If you believe in such things — and you should, when they are the law — this does not seem to be a terrible claim for trademark dilution, does it?

Or is Starbucks just playing the odds at this point?

By Ron Coleman

I write this blog.

3 thoughts on “Another black eye for Starbucks”
  1. Well, on this sort of thing, I usually turn to my favorite IP expert (mighta heard of him, guy name o’ Coleman).

    But in my lay opinion, this ENHANCES the Starbucks brand. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and everyone knows who’s the imitator and who’s being flattered. Every time someone says, “Oh, that’s funny! It’s like the Starbucks logo, but with a Roller Derby chick with a black eye,” they’re saying “Starbucks”.

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