Trademark Law

Pub owner's sarcastic response to Starbucks cease-and-desist letter goes viral

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A cease-and-desist letter sent to a small-town Missouri pub by Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn over a claimed violation of the Starbucks Coffee Co.’s “frappuccino” brand name has gone viral, after the owner, without help from a lawyer, drafted a sarcastic response and sent a $6 check.

It says the Exit 6 Pub & Brewery and a few of its customers “feel just awful” about calling one of its craft beers the “frappicino” (luckily, those in charge of the bar are “poor spelers,” notes owner Jeff Britton), and will never again use “the dastardly F-word” to describe its menu offerings, reports KSDK.

“We never thought that our beer-drinking customers would have thought that the alcoholic beverage coming out of the tap would have actually been coffee from one of the many, many, many stores located a few blocks away,” Britton continues. In addition to apologizing for stepping on Starbucks’ toes he encloses a $6 check that, he says, represents “the full amount of profit gained” from the sale of a paltry amount of beer under the offending moniker.

Both letters can be read on Scribd.

The bar’s menu reportedly came to the attention of Starbucks after the brew was listed on the Untapped beer-rating website.

“When I got that letter, I had to laugh,” Britton told KSDK, referring to Honigman’s missive. “I don’t blame Starbucks for doing what they did, I understand why they did it and they had every right to do it. But I’m a small brewery, small bar, in a small town, that makes small batches of beer.”

Now listed on the Exit 6’s menu as “the F-word,” the beer’s sales have shot up following the Starbucks spat, reports the Two-Way page of NPR.

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