DoubleShot across the bow

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As someone who was threatened with an intellectual property lawsuit, I can empathize with Brian Franklin, proprietor of Tulsa's DoubleShot Coffee Company:

I sense there has been some confusion. At least, that's what the letter says that I received from Starbucks' attorneys.

It's true. I received a letter last week informing me that I am infringing on a trademark that Starbucks has had since 2001, "Starbuck's Doubleshot." The lawyers advised me to cease using the DoubleShot Coffee Company name, to shut down my website (http://www.DoubleShotCoffee.com), and to destroy everything I have which bears the "DoubleShot" name. Come read the letter yourself-- it's framed and hanging on the wall, over the garbage can.

At first I frowned, then I smiled, then I laughed, then I experienced a little anger and fear, and then I went back to vengeance and irritable laughter. As you know, I don't take kindly to people telling me what to do. After briefly discussing the matter with my lawyer, and a gaggle of other lawyers who regularly patronize DoubleShot (my DoubleShot, not the can at the gas station), I don't think Starbucks has a leg to stand on. Doubleshot is a generic industry term for two shots of espresso. They have no exclusive rights to it. But they will try to scare me and lawyer me out of business if we give them the opportunity.

So today, as a legal clarification, I would like everyone to know that we are not Starbuck's Doubleshot. If we tricked you into coming in here, thinking you could get a can of Starbuck's DoubleShot here, please let me know.

And if you thought that $2 Tuesday was a sale on Starbuck's Doubleshot, I vehemently apologize for the confusion and ask you to please not come in here anymore because stupid people annoy me.

On the other hand, if you are brilliant enough to seek out a pound of fresh-roasted DoubleShot coffee, you will be rewarded today. Come in anytime today for $2 Tuesday, and receive a $2 discount on every pound of oh-so-tasty-coffee you purchase.

We don't have any cans of Starbuck's Doubleshot here, but we do have the freshest coffee on the planet!

Please tell as many people as you can about this outrageous Starbucks chicanery. We figure that the more publicity and public indignation we stir up, the better chance we will have at standing up against this evil corporate empire.

Find out more information about this on the latest episode of AA Cafe (and learn how to get a 15% discount on web orders):
http://www.DoubleShotCoffee.com/aacafe or on iTunes (search for "AA Cafe" in the music store).

I'd be interested to know what Ron Coleman, IP attorney and blawger extraordinaire, thinks about this. Actually, based on this recent item about Marvel and DC Comics trying to trademark the word "super-hero," I can guess. (As general counsel for the Media Bloggers Association, Ron responded on my behalf to the Tulsa World's legal threats.)

I'd think the Swinging Medallions would have a better infringement claim than Starbucks.

If you're a blogger, help spread the word about Starbucks' bullying. If you're a coffee drinker, stop by DoubleShot at 18th and Boston and buy a cup of great coffee to show your support. And stay tuned to DoubleShot's brand new blog for updates on the situation.

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» The Coffee War from Whatcode.net
» Starbucks: Corporate bully from Independent Christian Voice

othing irritates me more than big corporations, like Starbucks or Wal-Mart or any number of the big boys, whose focus is trying to find ways to eliminate competition not through fair competition of providing a better service, product or value, but ... Read More

7 Comments

If they don't layoff, I'm going to stop purchasing Starbucks products. I called them and told them so...
(800) 235-2883
Mon Fri 5 AM 6 PM (PST)
Sat Sun 6 AM 3 PM (PST)

I had to wait on hold for about 5 min.

I'm also going to follow up with an email via their web form.

Ron Coleman said:

Gosh, Michael, why don't you ever just ask me what I think about stuff instead of counting on Egorati?

Ron, I did, I did! Check your gmail account circa 6 p.m. your time.

Ron Coleman said:

Omigosh! How embarrassing.

Ron Coleman said:

Michael, if it's really a generic term and they can prove it, it sounds good for the defendant here. This is pretty typical of the bullying done by big companies in the name of "consumer protection" and prevention of "confusion" utilizing the intellectual property laws. Unfortunately it will likely cost the defendant tens of thousands of dollars or more even if they win.

susan said:

Why don't you get some advice from Kathy Taylor's husband#2 Bill Lobeck. He is the CEO of "Vanguard" Car Rental. Look at how many "Vanguard" businesses are around....

He doesn't own the "Vanguard" name ...but he uses it....stop by Kathy's office on Monday and ask her legal opinion about your situation. Bring her some coffee.

Anybody besides me notice that Bill Lobeck looks a little like Ted Turner. Both rich, both have gap teeth and both rich enough to get their gap teeth fixed. I guess they like that trademark.

My husband's grandfather invented the "turn signal" when he worked for a very large company long time ago along with many other things he invented.

He invented the turn signal in his back yard mechanical engineering shop but never bothered to get a patent. He told his idea to the rich company he worked for and they took credit for the "invention of the turn signal".

susan said:

There are other "doubleshot" names and companies that have that in their company name are still around -- same as "vanguard" could use the same complaint against Bill Lobeck's company.

In the movies that are shown around the world when they do movie scene shots of Starbucks...they don't make a big deal out of the name "doubleshot" ...instead they focus on the name "Starbucks". When they are getting their movie scenes advertising name Starbuck coffee orders, in the past movies I have seen Starbucks did not have the movie scenes purposely mention in each order "doubleshot".

My husband has also invented many ideas where businesses have prospered in business savings worth millions of dollars and company ideas that made the companies he has worked for millions of dollars. He's won president's club and been chosen by corporate offices as a Key Employee.

Since Kathy Taylor our new Mayor wants Tulsa to prosper in business, let her offer to help you with this while she uses the Tulsa World to promote her friendly to help attitude.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on April 5, 2006 3:39 PM.

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