Coffee giant Starbucks demands that a tiny London based coffee kiosk named ÂStar Box CoffeeÂ changes its name.
StarbucksÂ lawyers have written to Nasser Kamali- the owner of the kiosk and have advised that the name ÂStar Box CoffeeÂ is Âtechnically an infringement of its trade mark rightsÂ and further Starbucks claim that the Kiosk could Âweaken its global brand by having a similar nameÂ.
Mr Kamali was stunned when he received the hand delivered letter, especially given that the kiosk next to Swiss Cottage underground station has been running for five years without complaint.
The letter from law firm Burges Salmon, stated that as the worldÂs biggest coffee company it was critical Starbucks protected its name and clamped down on unauthorised use to avoid the strength of its name being weakened. The letter further advised, ÂStarbucks request that you adopt a different trading name (not commencing STAR) and change the signage used at your premises, along with the stickers currently applied to coffee cupsÂ.
Mr Kamali has now removed the word ÂstarÂ from his menus, posters and stickers and has changed the main sign at his kiosk. However, he is refusing to accept a Â£300 goodwill payment from Starbucks. He commented, ÂIÂm not taking their money and IÂm not scared of themÂ.
Mr Kamali told the Camden New Journal: ÂI may be small, but inside I am big. IÂm not taking their money and IÂm not scared of them. But I could not beat Starbucks in court, Be realistic. They have all the lawyers- and the government- so I just made the changesÂ.
Mr Kamali previously ran a shop in Fortune Green, trade was affected by the opening of a new Tesco, and this led to him setting up the coffee kiosk in Swiss Cottage. Mr Kamali commented, ÂI also do believe that money means nothing in this world. I donÂt buy from these big companies like Starbucks and Tesco. With this letter, you see the power of capitalismÂ. He continued, ÂI always pay my rates and rents. It is very difficult. Do they? Mr Kamali- a Marxist keeps a Karl Marx mug and a red star on the shelf of his kiosk. With regards the choice of name for his kiosk, Mr Kamali explained, ÂI do believe in Marxism and that is very important to me. That is why I had the red star logo on my stickers. I am in a box. It is my red star boxÂ.
A representative for Starbucks told the Camden New Journal: ÂTrade mark law is there to protect brand identity. In this instance it was too close to our brand and could lead to such confusionÂ.Â