Starbucks Deciding Whether to Smile or Sue Over ‘Dumb Starbucks’ Store

By Sabrina Elfarra

Feb 10, 2014 3:43pm

The newly opened Dumb Starbucks coffee shop in Los Angeles looks just like a regular Starbucks in every way except with the word “dumb” in front of everything, including menu items.

The real Starbucks is not sure whether it feels  Dumb Starbucks is just dumb or an illegal violation of its trademark.

“We are aware of this store, and it is not affiliated with Starbucks. We are evaluating next steps, and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.” Starbucks spokeswoman Laurel Harper said in a statement. When pressed on whether Starbucks intends to take legal action against Dumb Starbucks, she replied, “That may happen. We’re not sure at this point.”

Dumb Starbucks insists, however, that it can legally exist under a “parody law.” On handouts with Frequently Asked Questions available in the store, ‘Dumb Starbucks’ states, “by adding the word ‘dumb,’ we are technically ‘making fun’ of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as ‘fair use.’”

The store sells Dumb Frappuccinos, Dumb Iced Coffee, as well as Wuppy Duppy Lattes, all of which are free, according to baristas. They do, however, have a tip jar on the counter.

On their FAQ sheet, Dumb Starbucks said they “look up to [Starbucks] as role models.”

Alex Candia,  28,  went to Dumb Starbucks Sunday and waited in line for over two hours for two Dumb Cappuccinos, one of which he said tasted like hot chocolate.

“From a coffee perspective, it was not worth the wait,” Candia told ABC News.

Candia asked if they had wifi available for customers and was told that they did not.

“It was kind of cool because no one knew what was going on,” said Candia.

 

Despite the lines, Dumb Starbucks only had two baristas working who claim to have been hired on Craigslist.  The identity of the owners is unknown.

The Dumb Starbucks Twitter feed (@dumbstarbucks) has only posted twice and retweeted twice since it was created Friday. Their first tweet: “We’re now open for business! Visit us at 1802 Hillhurst Ave in Los Angeles.”

 

 

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