US-based global coffee giant, Starbucks has sued Sardarbuksh, an Indian coffee chain for allegedly copying its name and logo. Starbucks found the coffee chain that has five outlets in Delhi has a name quite similar-sounding to theirs as well as a logo that is too close to its famous two-tailed mermaid.
Seattle-based Starbucks filed a suit in Delhi High Court in July, leading to an order to change Sardarbuksh's name to Sardarji-Buksh. They have been asked by the court to change the logo as well in its interim order.
"We always prefer to resolve trademark disputes informally and amicably whenever possible, and to prevent confusion among customers," a Starbucks spokesperson said, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times.
The local chain will carry the new branding on its upcoming 30 outlets, while the existing 5 will await the final verdict. As mentioned in the daily, the company had changed its logo once it received a notice from Starbucks.
One of the partners, Rohit Khamboj, told the daily that neither he nor the other co-founder Sandeep Singh Kalra had ever been to a Starbucks. Khamboj explained that their name is an amalgamation of Sardar and Buksh and that the logo was designed by the internal team.
Kalra and Khamboj are prepared to fight for their original branding and have a group of senior lawyers take up their case. Starbucks, on the other hand, is being represented by law firm SS Rana.
Not only Sardarbuksh, there is a similar-sounding cafe in Pakistan by the name of Sattarbucks. Local entrepreneurs finding inspiration in international brands is quite a common phenomenon. In 2015 Ludhiana-based Mr Singh Burger King had to change the name to Mr Singh Food King after Burger King took them to court.
Starbucks came to India in partnership with Tata Group in 2012. It currently has 125 outlets in the country. Globally, the company runs 28,000 outlets in 70 countries. Last year Starbucks opened their biggest outlet and the second Starbucks Reserve Roastery outside of Seattle in Shanghai.