New York City cafe files $10 mn trademark case against Starbucks

A New York City cafe has filed a $10 million trademark infringement lawsuit against Starbucks, claiming the coffee chain had stolen its idea for the popular “Unicorn Frappuccino.”

Starbucks, however, said, it believed the claim was nothing more than a myth.

Starbucks’ unicorn-themed blended beverage came to stores in the US, Canada and Mexico for a limited run last month, and became an instant social media hit, triggering a food craze among customers. The drink featured bright colours, with changing flavours, which was topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of pink and blue powder.

But, The End Brooklyn and its owner, Montauk Juice Factory, which filed a federal suit in the US States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, claim that Starbucks’ treat infringed on its “Unicorn Latte” creation, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

According to The End Brooklyn, a cafe located in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, it began selling its Unicorn Latte last December, as per court documents. According to records, the owners applied to trademark the name on 20 January. The application was still pending and it was publicly searchable on the US Patent and Trademark Office’s website.

"The size and scope of Starbucks’ product launch was designed so that the Unicorn Frappuccino would eclipse the Unicorn Latte in the market," confusing the Brooklyn company's customers, the lawsuit alleges. "In addition to having a highly similar name, Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino shares visual similarities to the Unicorn Latte in that both were brightly colored and featured the colors pink and blue prominently."

"The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino blended beverage was inspired by the fun, spirited and colorful unicorn-themed food and drinks that have been trending in social media," Starbucks said in a formal statement. "The beverage was offered for a limited time in April and is no longer available in our stores."