[USA] There’s nothing rare about Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino — in fact, the coffee chain ripped off the idea for the colorful drink from a Brooklyn cafe, the hipster shop claims in a new $10 million trademark infringement lawsuit.
Worse, the owners of The End Brooklyn, in Williamsburg, claim in the federal suit that its customers assumed they were the ones serving a “copy-cat or knockoff.”
The End, on the corner of Metropolitan and Union avenues, began selling the “Unicorn Latte” in December 2016, the suit says. It was a “successful and popular product,” according to court papers.
So the cafe’s owners applied to trademark the name on Jan. 20, records show. The application — which is publicly searchable at the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website — is still pending.
Starbucks launched its take on the blended beverage on April 17 — and it became wildly popular.
“The size of and scope of Starbucks’ product launch was designed so that the Unicorn Frappuccino would eclipse the Unicorn Latte in the market, thereby harming [The End] and confusing their customers,” the suit says.
Fans of the coffee giant’s version eventually co-opted The End’s name for the drink, the suit says.
“Starbucks’ products began appearing on social media labeled with the hashtag #unicornlatte, online publications began referring to Starbucks’ products as Unicorn Lattes, and [The End’s] Unicorn Latte — while still occasionally mentioned — was reduced to an ‘also ran’ anecdote to Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino,” the suit says.
The drinks are similar in look if not in taste.
“In addition to having a highly similar name, Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino shares visual similarities to the Unicorn Latte in that both were brightly colored and featured the colors pink and blue prominently,” the suit says.
Neither drink contains coffee. The End’s version is made from “cold-pressed ginger, lemon juice, dates, cashews, blended with additional healthy, dried ingredients such as maca root, blue-green algae, and vanilla bean,” the suit says.
Meanwhile, Starbucks’ version is “a concoction of milk, artificial sweeteners, color additives, and pinches of fruit juice concentrate for flavor,” according to court papers.
Even though Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino had a limited run and is no longer available, The End’s suit says the damage has been done.
“Starbucks’ conduct has diluted the distinctive quality of [The End’s] famous Unicorn Latte mark and has and is likely to continue to confuse consumers into believing that Starbucks’ products are affiliated with, or are otherwise endorsed or approved by [The End], and vice-versa,” the suit says. The coffee shop is seeking unspecified compensation for “infringing, diluting, and otherwise diminishing the value of [The End’s] intellectual property.” The Brooklyn cafe also wants a public apology.
Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges said, “We know about the claims and we believe they are without merit.”
View original article at: Brooklyn cafe claims Starbucks stole their ‘unicorn’ drink