October 13, 2006

On Wednesday, the patent court in South Korea ruled against Starbucks Corporation in its attempt to restrict Elpreya’s use of the brand “Starpreya.” Noting that the words “bucks” and “preya” have no special meaning, and that the word “star” is common and does not distinguish one product from another, the court stated that “[b]Both of the trade names are made of two words and are very unlikely to be called in separate forms such as ‘Star’ or ‘Preya’ and ‘Star’ or ‘Bucks’.” Starbucks initially filed suit against Elpreya, a South Korean company, claiming that the use of the word “Starpreya” was an attempts to benefit from the goodwill of Starbucks and would cause confusion between the two product brands. It is also noted that last year the patent court dismissed an earlier claim made by Starbucks that Elpreya’s Starpreya logo infringed it’s trademarked logo, stating that as the two logos have different elements (one having a mermaid and the other having a goddess), and even though both logos contain green circles with the same green banding, block text of either “STARPREYA” or “STARBUCKS” at the top of the circle and “COFFEE” at the bottom of the circle, white stars on the left and right sides of the green band containing the text, and a black and white line drawing of a woman in the center of the circle with a black background, the court determined that it was hard to consider the two logos (shown here, click to enlarge) as being similar to one another.

The Korea Times News Article: LINK
Yahoo! News Article: LINK
Starbucks Company Webpage: LINK
Starpreya Coffee Website: LINK

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not a small amount of sarcasm there at the end?

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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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