Big bucks: IP protection at Starbucks


Starbucks is the world’s largest coffeehouse company, but its success has made it a popular target for infringers. WIPR spoke to Batur Oktay and Kim Teraberry about the company’s strategy for protecting its IP.

It is difficult to walk down a shopping street in London without seeing one. New York alone has several hundred. Argentina, Ireland, Thailand and Bulgaria all boast branches. Starbucks is, seemingly, ubiquitous. And that’s just the coffeehouses.

Add the countless references to the brand in Hollywood films, US TV shows, newspapers, magazines and on the Internet, and you could be forgiven for thinking that no corner of the globe remains untouched by the Seattle company.

However, despite impressions to the contrary, Starbucks does not have outlets everywhere. And if it doesn’t have outlets everywhere, entrepreneurs in those places where there are no well-known coffeehouses might take the opportunity to ride on the back of the Starbucks brand to attract new custom.

Starbucks, IP, strategy, trademark, infringement, protection