Starbucks Files Lawsuit Against Thomasville Cafe Owner

The Mermaid Cafe
Posted at 10:00 AM, Nov 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-20 05:37:52-05

THOMASVILLE, GA (WTXL) - The coffee giant Starbucks has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a Thomasville cafe. Court documents filed by Starbucks say the cafe used the company's logo to mislead customers into believing they were selling Starbucks products.

Starbucks first learned that a business called "The Mermaid Cafe" was posting photos of Starbucks products and logos to Facebook in April of this year, according to the lawsuit. The posts said they would be offering Starbucks coffee when the business opened.

Starbucks says in the lawsuit that they reached out to the Mermaid Cafe's owner, Steven Blood, multiple times since they first saw the posts. The company asked him to stop using the company's logo and to stop saying that the business, which opened in June of this year, was "Proudly Serving Starbucks Coffee", according to paperwork filed in court.

During Starbucks's investigation of the cafe, they say it appears that the business owner would stop advertising Starbucks products in one place, such as the sign that hangs over the building, but was still using similar advertisements online and in-store.

Starbucks is asking in the lawsuit that the case be tried by a jury and that the cafe stop using the Starbucks name and logo. They are also asking that Blood pay damages if the courts say he did infringe on the Starbucks logo.

Starbucks was unable to grant WTXL's request for an interview, however a Starbucks spokesperson did say, "Starbucks has made significant investments to develop our brand and intellectual property over the past 43 years. Starbucks, like all brand owners, has a responsibility to protect its trademarks. Starbucks prefers to handle disputes without the need for litigation, but in this case could not come to a resolution with Mr. Blood."

Blood told WTXL that he is unaware of the lawsuit.