Unicorn Frappuccino infringed trademark for ‘Unicorn Latte’
A New York City café, The End Brooklyn, has taken on multinational coffee company Starbucks in a war over unicorns.
Filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York on Wednesday, May 3, the claim alleged that Starbucks’ new drink, the Unicorn Frappuccino, infringed The End’s trademark for ‘Unicorn Latte’.
According to the lawsuit, The End has marketed its own colourful beverage under the name Unicorn Latte since December last year.
“The size of and scope of Starbucks’ product launch was designed so that the Unicorn Frappuccino would eclipse the Unicorn Latte in the market,” said The End.
It added that not only do the drinks have a “highly similar” name, but they are visually similar because they are both brightly coloured and feature pink and blue prominently.
The limited-edition Starbucks drink, which was launched on April 17, is described by the multinational as a “flavour-changing, colour-changing, totally not-made-up” drink.
According to the suit, while the Unicorn Latte is a “blend of fresh juices and healthy ingredients, the ‘Unicorn Frappuccino’ is a concoction of milk, artificial sweeteners, colour additives, and pinches of fruit juice concentrate for flavour”.
The End said that consumers were confused by the similarity, with some assuming that its drinks were a “copy-cat or knockoff” of Starbucks’ products.
“While Starbucks’ product has been temporarily taken off the market—it was always intended as a limited-run item—the damage to plaintiffs’ trademark and business continues and, to an extent, may well be irreparable,” said the claim.
The café is seeking a permanent injunction against Starbucks, destruction of infringing goods, profits, damages, attorneys’ fees, a statement on Starbucks’ website correcting the confusion and a jury trial.