Sam Buck Loses Copyright Suit to Starbucks
Cory Doctorow reports,
A woman named Sam Buck opened a coffee shop in Astoria, Oregon in 2000, two years before a Starbucks opened down the road. She named her shop Sambuck’s, and the judge in her case said that she willfully infringed on Starbucks’s trademark in so doing.
Well, sure. If a guy named Mac Donald opened a hamburger chain and named it after himself, he’d lose, too.
Buck might have a better case had she named the shop “Sam Buck’s Coffee Shop” rather than “Sambucks Coffee.” And the fact that she opened her shop before Starbucks opened one on the same block is irrelevant. Again, had her shop been in existence before Starbucks became a nationally famous chain, she might have a case.