February 10, 2014

Trading on the Starbucks name, Dumb Starbucks says it's legal because it's parody.

"Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art. So, in the eyes of the law, our 'coffee shop' is actually an art gallery and the 'coffee' you’re buying is considered the art. But that’s for our lawyers to worry about. All you need to do is enjoy our delicious coffee!"

And all the media need to do is lavish them with publicity... before their lawyers do battle with Starbucks lawyers (and lose).

How far can we go with the "It's an art project" defense?

54 comments:

elkh1 said...

Starbutts? Buckstar?

Pat said...

Someone spent too much money on signage, lease, etc, for this to be some simple rebellious parody. Some competitor is behind this, but I don't know who.

EDH said...

An outright likelihood of confusion trademark claim, judging from the signs; not just a tarnishment or dilution claim.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So the Obamacare mandate is neither a penalty nor a tax, it is an art project, a parody of the legislative process?

Robert Cook said...

Dumb Starbucks Owners

Revenant said...

What's the parody? So far as I can tell they just took a Starbucks and put the word "dumb" in front of everything on the menu.

Bob Boyd said...

Could a woman legally stand on the corner offering sex for tips only claiming its an art project parody called Dumb Whore?

southcentralpa said...

I've been trying to get the Whitney Biennial to display "Immersion (Piss Mandela)", but they won't return my calls ...

Ann Althouse said...

"An outright likelihood of confusion trademark claim…"

Only to someone who's dumb.

And the problem of being dumb is so highlighted by the signage that you'd have to be incomprehensibly dumb to miss it.

EMD said...

I hope they get their asses handed to them in court.

Dumb court.

Hagar said...

In a university town, quite a ways.

Alexander said...

They'll lose the "it's only art" defense as soon as one pro-feminist liberal arts major says she's fearful of coffee.

The Godfather said...

Has Christie considered declaring the GW Bridge closures art?

Bob Boyd said...

The "Its an art project" defense probably wouldn't work for the Marius situation.

mccullough said...

Zombie Starbucks might work better. The first amendment parody defense is always tricky when it comes to defending against copyright and trademark claims. The most amusing thing is that they say that their lawyers tell them to call it a parody and claim it is some sort of art or social commentary.

Since no one but an idiot would be confused, it would be good if people could open these types of Starbucks Sucks stores. If the coffee sucks they'll be out of business anyway.

chuck said...

I'd like to see the ACA labelled an art project. A post-modern art project.

St. George said...

"What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by [officials] to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne."

Sen. Obama, Fall 2002.

Take that last sentence and substitute Obamacare for war.

Scott M said...

How far can we go with the "It's an art project" defense?

I'd be interested in seeing what Wellesley College has to say to that question, what with the life-like statue of a man in his tighty-whities gracing their campus.

The Crack Emcee said...

Only to someone who's dumb.

And the problem of being dumb is so highlighted by the signage that you'd have to be incomprehensibly dumb to miss it.

ROTFLMAO!!!!

Henry said...

How far can we go with the "It's an art project" defense?

Suzi Gablik wrote a whole book extolling it, back in the 90s. Unfortunately, she was serious.

cubanbob said...

From the article it looks like they are charging Starbuck's prices which would really make the patrons dumb.

jr565 said...

They're going to lose.
Better start taking the profits and putting it in their mattress now, because they are going to otherwise have to pay it to Starbucks.

SOJO said...

I'd totally go if I still lived there. I don't think they planned on staying open for long and actually being a business in any case.

mccullough said...

Hipster Clap-Trap might be the new name.

jr565 said...

cuban bob wrote:
From the article it looks like they are charging Starbuck's prices which would really make the patrons dumb.


I thought perhaps you could at least call the customers smarter than Starbucks customers because they at least weren't paying Starbuck prices.And you could remark how that was at least ironical.
Yet, that doesn't appear to be the case.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
What's the parody? So far as I can tell they just took a Starbucks and put the word "dumb" in front of everything on the menu.

That's the parody!
Ok, I don't get it either.

Andy Freeman said...

> Only to someone who's dumb.
>>"An outright likelihood of confusion trademark claim…"

> Only to someone who's dumb.

> And the problem of being dumb is so highlighted by the signage that you'd have to be incomprehensibly dumb to miss it.

See http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/decisions/html/2000/d2000-0477.html

Someone lost variations on walmartsucks.com on the basis of trademark law. (They should have lost some of the names for other reasons but ....)

cubanbob said...

jr565 said...
cuban bob wrote:
From the article it looks like they are charging Starbuck's prices which would really make the patrons dumb.


I thought perhaps you could at least call the customers smarter than Starbucks customers because they at least weren't paying Starbuck prices.And you could remark how that was at least ironical.
Yet, that doesn't appear to be the case.

2/10/14, 11:46 AM

Paying Starbucks prices at Dumb Starbucks is a parody of intelligence.

garage mahal said...

Starbucks coffee tastes like piss and ridiculously overpriced. You have to be dumb to buy it.

jr565 said...

If you sell products I don't know if you can get away with calling your company a parody.
I'm thinking, by the way of making another company called "Dum Starbukks" which will be a parody of the parody.That should be legal.

Beldar said...

If they were nonprofit, it might be a different story.

jr565 said...

If we paid for our dumb coffee with "dumb dollars" would they give us the coffee? Or do they only accept legal currency?
Are they not appreciators of other peoples art projects?

jr565 said...

How about Dumber Starbucks,which will be like Dumb Starbucks, only Dumber. And then you could do Dumberer Starbucks. Which would really be truth in advertising.

You could do parodies of parodies of parodies.

jr565 said...

garage mahal wrote:
Starbucks coffee tastes like piss and ridiculously overpriced. You have to be dumb to buy it.

You know what piss tastes like?
Ewww!
(Sorry)

cubanbob said...

garage mahal said...
Starbucks coffee tastes like piss and ridiculously overpriced. You have to be dumb to buy it.

2/10/14, 12:04 PM"

What is it they say about a stopped clock?

Jr565 I don't know why you are so vexed about this. Starbucks is over priced pretentious crap put out by a left leaning company management and is consumed by people with more money than sense. And the customers of the Dumb Starbucks are traveling under the guise of how ironically hip they are by going to the Dumb Starbucks and being equally fleeced with over priced pretentious crap. Dumb and Dumber. And yes from a legal perspective they will lose in a trademark action probably as well as a copyright infringement. WHich will make them Really Dumb Starbucks.

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
Starbucks coffee tastes like piss and ridiculously overpriced. You have to be dumb to buy it."

Go to Colectivo. Awesome coffee. And beer.

jr565 said...

cubanbob wrote:
Jr565 I don't know why you are so vexed about this. Starbucks is over priced pretentious crap put out by a left leaning company management and is consumed by people with more money than sense.

I'm not vexed at all. I can't stand starbucks. Forget politics, the coffee sucks and is over priced.

I just think the rationale for allowing for a Dumb Starbucks on the grounds that it's a parody is absurd.

garage mahal said...

Go to Colectivo. Awesome coffee. And beer.

This was renamed....from what? I forget. I wish we had more Dunkin Donuts in Madison. Only one that I know of. Their coffee is 10 times better than that bitter crap they serve at Starbucks.

tim maguire said...

It's almost comical how many people think shouting "Parody!" is some kind of get out of jail free card for a wide array of slander and rights infringement.

They apparently couldn't imagine that parody is an actual term with an actual concept and definition behind it.

Curious George said...

garage mahal said...
This was renamed....from what?


Alterra. Milwaukee company.

Rusty said...

"garage mahal wrote:
Starbucks coffee tastes like piss and ridiculously overpriced. You have to be dumb to buy it. "

Obviously you've bought some.

Nice thing about America. You can drive around in a Nissan Sentra, or if you have the scratch you can drive a caddy or a merc. Having a whole bunch of choices is fun.

garage mahal said...

Alterra has a location near the harbor if I remember correctly. Cool place, I've stopped there a few times before headed to fish the harbor.

William said...

I'd like to open Dumb Tiffany, as a clever parody on Americans' absurd taste for overpriced jewelry. We could offer dumb engagement rings and maybe even a Dumb Hope Diamond, all made of zircon and all priced as diamonds. This would offer a clever satire on America's fraud laws.

Steve said...

I think right up until you start selling competing products. Is there a fair use exception to trademark law?

SOJO said...

I would go to Dumb Starbuck's for the fun of it, and to see if the joke was fleshed out in any way on the inside.

I don't think Starbuck's proper counts as pretentious at this point - it's too common. It's a place for teens to hang out and sneak sugar drinks behind their parents' back.

There is one inside my local Von's supermarket. 30s to 40ish women work there so they can get health insurance.

It is also a good road stop. It's there and has restrooms when you aren't familiar with the landscape. If you're in your own neighborhood, you'll probably go to your favorite indie cafe, but if you're not, where's a Starbuck's?

Revenant said...

I really don't get the Starbucks hate. Coffee is pretty much coffee, to me. The main appeal of Starbucks is convenience.

I could get in my car and drive for ten minutes to get a better and marginally cheaper cup of coffee somewhere else. Except it isn't really cheaper, what with the extra time and gas.

"I want coffee. Oh look, a Starbucks. And now I have coffee". That's about as complicated as my relationship with coffee gets.

Michael said...

When you live in an out of the way university town harshing Starbucks counts for sophistication, I suppose. I dont see any commenters extolling the virtues of Maxwell House or Folgers so I suppose what you count as good is a Blue Mointain variety lovingly produced in a press. The professor cooks bacon in water and Meade makes some kind of bullshit cowboy coffee. You cannot get more precious than small town university people.

garage mahal said...

The professor cooks bacon in water and Meade makes some kind of bullshit cowboy coffee. You cannot get more precious than small town university people.

Okay that was funny.

Have you ever visited Madison, out of curiosity?

Michael said...

garage: yes. I received a MA from the University of Iowa and went up to Madison a few times to see another big mid-west school and see if the girls there were as fat as the girls in Iowa. They were.

garage mahal said...

I thought maybe you had a hard time getting laid in Madison judging by your constant animosity toward our city.

Michael said...

Garage. No animosity. Just cruel neutrality.

jr565 said...

Revenant wrote:
"I really don't get the Starbucks hate. Coffee is pretty much coffee, to me. The main appeal of Starbucks is convenience."


The problem for me is the taste of the coffee at the store. And I think its because they aren't cleaning their pots.
In college I worked at a coffee bar and we had to clean the pots out with this cleaning solution every night or so.
We wouldn't always do that though as it was a longish process. , but instead use boiling water a few times and then clean with soap and water.
If you didn't get rid of the residue that would build up and would be removed by the cleaning solution you'd start getting really bitter tasting coffee.
And thats what Starbucks tastes like.
If you buy the beans and take them home you don't get same bitter taste.

garage mahal said...

Beyond the politics of Madison, it's really a great city to live in.

Michael said...

Garage: I liked Madison and I liked Iowa City but they are both university towns at the end of the day