Starbucks fighting for its name in ČR

19. 5. 2008 12:30
The chain is "upset" with Czech authorities' decision

Prague - Starbucks, which opened its first branches in the Czech Republic this year, is fighting over the use of its name in the country.

The chain is upset with a decision by Czech authorities allowing the registration of the Starbucks Hand Crafted Collection trademark by Attack Media. Czech courts are already dealing with the dispute.

Attack Media originally wanted to use the brand name for a broad range of products, but the Industrial Property Office in the end approved the use of the Starbucks Hand Crafted Collection trademark only for horse-riding and smoking equipment.

And this is the heart of the problem. Starbucks sees the approval of the trademark for lighters or cigar tips as tarnishing the good name of the US company.

Starbucks officials said the company promotes healthy lifestyle, sponsors an environment protection programme and takes part in other charitable events.

"Therefore it is unacceptable to link our name or products with tobacco products," Starbucks officials said in a statement for the Industrial Property Office.

Besides, lighters and other equipment for smokers are related to cafés, which could puzzle customers. People might think that lighters bearing the Starbucks name are a promo product. "This would mislead customers," Starbucks said.

But the Industrial Property Office has not eliminated the trademark for smoking equipment.

Cigarettes like papers

"Printed media could be considered similar products, because newspapers and magazines are often available in cafés, as well as desserts and ice-cream, which are typically offered by cafés," Karel Čada, head of the office, said in the decision.

"We cannot say that smokers' products target the same group of consumers, that is, people who go to cafés, because not all café customers must necessarily be smokers," the decision reads.

Starbucks has turned to the courts, but the dispute is not over yet. The supreme court of administration has ruled in favour of Starbucks and ordered the municipal court in Prague to reopen the dispute.

Starbucks Coffee opened its first branches in the Czech Republic in Prague. The chain offers hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and sweets.

The Czech Republic is the first country in central Europe in which Starbucks has opened its cafés.

Adapted and republished by the Prague Daily Monitor

autor: Tomáš Fránek | 19. 5. 2008 12:30

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