Dumb Starbucks Coffee Shop Tests the Parody Law

Dumb Starbucks Coffee


Dumb Starbucks opened it’s doors on Friday, February 7, 2014 and pictures have been going viral on Social Media.

Crowds of people lined up for hours to grab a cup of coffee from “Dumb Starbucks,” with a good reason too. When the Dumb Starbucks opened its doors, the baristas gave away free coffee until they ran out.

Located in a strip mall next to a laundromat, the shop reportedly mimics the Starbucks menu, but uses the word “dumb” in front of every single product. The mock store is nearly identical to Starbucks. Drinks at the Dumb Starbucks are served in green and white “Dumb Starbucks coffee” cups. The menu features “Dumb Iced Coffee,” “Dumb Frappuccinos” and a seasonal “Wuppy Duppy Latte.”

Dumb Starbucks Menu

The super-friendly baristas were hired off Craigslist, while pastries are pulled from Vons bakery packaging.

Starbucks is aware of the parody and is “looking into it,” said company spokeswoman Megan Adams.

“We are evaluating the next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they can’t use our name,” Starbucks spokesman Jim Olson told CNNMoney. “It’s a protected trademark. It’s our trademark.”

As of yesterday, the store was still distributing free coffee and there was no evidence of a business licence nor a grade for a health inspection.

A list of frequently asked questions is posted on the premises stating they are a parody of Starbucks. They confirm not being affiliated with Starbucks, but are “simply using their name and logo for marketing purposes”, with parody law cited as the legal basis for doing so.

As the FAQ reads: “Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbusks 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! We love Starbucks and look up to them as role models. Unfortunately, the only way to use their intellectual property under fair use is if we are making fun of them. So the word ‘dumb’ comes out of necessity, not enmity.”

What exactly is the definiation of Parody law?

Law.com defines parody as:

The humorous use of an existing song, play, or writing which changes the words to give farcical and ironic meaning. Parodies have been challenged as copyright infringements on the original works, particularly since some have reaped terrific profits. Recent decisions favor the parodies and say they have an originality of their own and, thus, are not infringements. There is a free speech issue involved in these decisions since parodies traditionally have so-cial and political significance.

Time will tell on how Starbucks will handle this Dumb Starbucks “parody.”

“Dumb Starbucks” America’s Newest Coffee Shop!

A new coffee shop called “Dumb Starbucks” has opened in LA, it looks super dumb, and awesome.

Dumb Starbucks: On the Scene

Watch Jon Erlichman try to buy coffee at a “Dumb Starbucks” in Los Angeles.

Starbucks considers legal action against Dumb Starbucks

Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl weighs in about Dumb Starbucks.

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