‘Dumb’ Starbucks Coffee Shop Opens in Los Angeles, and it’s Totally Legal! Or is it?
If you happened to be driving by a new coffee shop that just opened up in Los Angeles, you might have had to look twice. At first glance, it simply looks like the newest Starbucks to open up. Most of us have seen the Starbucks name and logo so many times that it’s easy to take for granted and not even pay attention.
But a closer look reveals that the new LA coffee shop located in the Los Feliz neighborhood in LA is not a Starbucks. It is in fact a Dumb Starbucks, and the company behind the coffee shop has nothing to do with the actual Starbucks corporation.
Step inside Dumb Starbucks and you see the same menu items that are in a real Starbucks – with the word “dumb” added as a prefix to the menu items. The White Chocolate Mocha that you can order at a plain old regular Starbucks, for example, is a Dumb White Chocolate Mocha.
So the obvious question everyone is asking is, “how is this legal? How can Starbucks NOT sue the pants off of these people who are obviously blatantly copying off of them?” After all, this has “trademark infringement” written all over it.
The short answer is, parody law.
The long answer is that by adding “dumb” to the name of their store, they are “making fun of” Starbucks, which circumvents Fair Use laws. And in order to be compliant with the law, the store considers itself to be an “art gallery”, with the store name considered to be “parody art.” The “art” in this case is the coffee that they sell.
At least that is the argument being made on a FAQ note posted in the Dumb Starbucks store. You can read the whole thing below:
As for Starbucks, the company has just gotten wind of the new Dumb Starbucks and is said to be “looking into it.” We cannot imagine that Starbucks will be happy with this and if the owners of Dumb Starbucks do not have a good chunk of money set aside for a legal battle, the store may have a very short shelf life.
But if Dumb Starbucks does pass the legal smell test, how long will it be before we start seeing Stupid Taco Bells?
Watch a local news report from CBS Los Angeles.
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