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Friday, November 22, 2013

Would You Be Confused Between Starbucks & Charbucks? The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Isn't.

By: Peter J. Lamont, Esq.
New Jersey Business and Personal Law Attorney
Law Offices of Peter J. Lamont

Starbucks Corp et al vWolfe's Borough Coffee Inc d/b/a Black Bear Micro Roastery
In a recent decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled against Starbucks who claimed that Black Bear was infringing on its trademark.  

Starbucks filed suit against Black Bear claiming, among other things, trademark dilution in violation of the Federal Trademark Dilution Act (FTDA), 15 U.S.C. 1125(c), 1127. The district court denied Starbucks request for an injunction, concluding that Starbucks failed to prove that Black Bear's "Charbucks" marks at issue were likely to dilute Starbucks' famous "Starbucks" marks. 

The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the district court did not err in its factual findings that there was only a minimal degree of similarity between the Starbucks marks and the Charbucks marks and that Starbucks demonstrated only a weak association between the marks. Balancing the section 1125(c)(2)(B) factors and other facts that bear on a likelihood of dilution, the court agreed with the district court that Starbucks failed to show that Black Bear's use of its marks in commerce was likely to dilute the Starbucks marks. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.

If you would like more information about this topic or have general legal questions, please feel free to contact me at (973)949-3770 or via email at plamont@peterlamontesq.com We answer legal questions on a daily basis and would be happy to discuss any issues or questions that you have with you.  Offices in: New Jersey New York, Colorado & Puerto Rico.  Affiliated throughout the country.

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