When Starbucks sold the Unicorn Frappuccino a couple of weeks ago, they may have made a critical legal misstep, and one cafe is vowing to make them pay for it.
Brooklyn cafe The End, who created the original Unicorn Latte a few months ago and has a trademark pending for the name, is suing the mega coffee chain for infringing on its trademark with the Unicorn Frappuccino.
The End claims in their lawsuit that Starbucks never approached them to see if they could use a “name deceptively similar to Unicorn Latte.” Neither the Unicorn Frappuccino or Unicorn Latte are made with coffee, but The End’s Unicorn Latte is a superfood health drink that only resembles Starbucks’ sugar-laden crap in terms of color. Apparently, some news articles also ran with the story that Starbucks’ drink was a Unicorn Latte, and the hashtag #unicornlatte was even associated with the beverage, causing even more confusion.
As a result, customers at The End even accused their OG beverage of being a knockoff and asked if they could get Unicorn Frappuccinos instead, which would definitely be an insult to a coffee shop claiming to have originated the Unicorn Latte.
Between all of these events transpiring while the Unicorn Frappuccino was in stores (and even when it was no longer available), the Brooklyn cafe feels that Starbucks infringed on its trademark and utilized “unfair competition” to push its product.
While Starbucks is no longer selling the mythical beverage, their press release did suggest that the Frappuccino may return at some point in the near future, and The End doesn’t want that to further damage their brand and cafe.
Thus, The End is looking for judges to permanently prevent Starbucks from using names like the “Unicorn Frappuccino” that are confusingly similar to the Unicorn Latte, and also want Starbucks to fork over “all gains, profits, and advantages” they obtained from selling the Unicorn Frap. On top of that, they’re asking for the coffee chain to put a statement on its website and in print media that corrects “the confusion as to the unlawful use of the mark and the origination of the UNICORN LATTE” for six months.
In a statement to USA Today, Starbucks harshly countered the lawsuit, claiming it to be “without merit.”
“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. The beverage was offered for a limited time in April and is no longer available in our stores.”
We’ll see if you’re right here, Starbucks. If you’re wrong, you could be out potentially millions.