Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Starbuck Korea and Trademark Issues

I watch Starbucks Korea carefully.... most often from a cultural prespective. This article looks at Trademark issues.

The nation's pendent court yesterday dismissed copyright and trademark infringement claims by Starbucks Corporation, the world's largest multinational chain of coffee shops against local coffee chain Starpreya.

Starbucks accused Starpreya, a locally-owned coffee house and store, of pirating its trademark and coffee products and causing confusion to customers. And the U.S. company also demanded the court to nullify the registered trademark of the Korean outlet.

However the appellate-level court in Daejeon denied defendant's motions and ruled that the two brands cannot be interpreted as the same or similar.

The brands of the two companies are combined with the words, Star and Preya, and Star and Bucks. The word Star is commonly used in Korea, and Preya and Bucks do not hold special meanings, the ruling said.

Also, we've judged that the trademarks and logos look different, and that they don't hold any intention to be compared, it continued.

Therefore, the chief judge Lee Ki-taik said the court cannot admit the Starbucks Corporation's assertion that Starpreya's trademark has brought public misconception and confusion, and that the court cannot rule that the plaintiff had its trademark copied.

In March last year, Starbucks Corporation filed a lawsuit against Starpreya, saying Starpreya's logo is similar to Starbucks mermaid logo.

But the court rejected the litigation, judging they are different because Starpreya logo is shaped with a goddess figure.

Starbucks opened its first coffee shop in Seoul in 1999, and Starpreya registered its trademark in August 2003.

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