Best of 2006: Starbucks — not a “preya” in Korea
The Korea Times reports that perpetual trademark litigation plaintiff Starbucks has lost two in a row to South Korea’s Elpreya company, which features a line of coffee utilizing the word STARPREYA and the above confusingly similar (says LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®) logo.
No likelihood of confusion here? That’s bad enough. Evidently South Korea doesn’t have a trademark dilution statute, much less one like the new caffeinated version now ruling American symbology. If they had, they would have a slam donut-dunk on this claim — on paper, at least.
Frankly it looks like Starbucks got the home-town treatment, a common enough occurrence in East Asia, though one more commonly associated with China than the relatively mature market economy of South Korea. No word whether Starbucks can or will appeal. It certainly has ample grounds.
UPDATE: Great roundup, and someone finally got the joke, at China Law Blog.
UPDATE UPDATE: Starbucks is appealling the decision, as it surely must.
UPDATE CUBED: It’s over.