December 15, 2009 - Starbucks Corp. has sued the Black Bear Micro Roastery in Tuftonbury, New Hampshire, for diluting its trademark. At issue is the family-owned company's "Charbucks" coffee blend. The name of the blend is an obvious play on "Starbucks" that also highlights the dark-roasted characteristic of the coffee.
Starbucks' spokeswoman May Kulthol, quoted in a Bloomberg News story on the lawsuit, said, "Black Bear did not choose the term 'Charbucks' by accident, but with Starbucks in mind...We always prefer to resolve trademark disputes informally and amicably whenever possible."
Black Bear's attorney, Christopher Cole, says Starbucks has not proved that there has been any "blurring" of the Starbucks mark, and that the Charbucks and Mister Charbucks blends have been available in New England and online for many years.