The largest coffee chain in the world will no longer be associated with smoking. After four years of legal battles, Starbucks won and Czech institutions stopped protecting the brand name Starbucks for smoking purposes.
The dispute dates back to 2005 when the Industrial Property Office allowed the registration of Starbucks Hand Crafted Collection by Attack Media. Apart from horse-riding gear, the brand protection also included smoker’s essentials like ash trays, tobacco, matches and pipe holders.
Tobacco doesn’t go with us
Starbucks objected to the decision and went on to defend its case in the court which returned the case for reassessment.
According to the coffee company, its association with smoking products damages its brand which builds on advocating a healthy lifestyle.
“Starbucks sponsored programs for environment protection and in hunger-stricken areas, supported sports events and organizations that work to eliminate illiteracy and that’s why it’s unacceptable for its name to be associated with tobacco products,” the company’s representatives said.
The Industrial Property Office accepted this the second time around. According to its Chairman Josef Kratochvíl, cafés were historically designated for people to enjoy coffee with a cigarette in. Even now, a number of cafés offer products for smokers.
For this reason, the office’s head concluded that people might think that Starbucks is also manufacturing smoking products. “The average consumer might think that smoking products are linked to café and restaurant services,” the office ruled and withdrew its protection for Starbucks Hand Crafted Collection brand.
Nine in the country
Starbucks however didn’t succeed with its second complaint and, so, the protection of Starbucks Hand Crafted Collection is still valid for horse-riding gear only.
Starbucks is the world’s largest processor and seller of coffee and runs almost 16,000 cafés with more than 170,000 employees in 50 countries. In Prague, it runs 9 cafés.
In 2008, AmRest Coffee, which builds the network of Starbucks cafés, realized its first CZK 86.6 million and reported a loss of CZK 48,5 million.