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Starbucks Having Trouble Winning Coffee Cup Trademark

Law360, New York (November 14, 2014, 3:50 PM EST) -- Starbucks Corp. owns dozens of trademark registrations for things like “Frappuccino,” but the coffee giant has had trouble in recent months registering a more unusual mark: Coffee cups bearing a blank green circle on the side.

The Seattle-based coffee chain is no stranger to trademark law. Last year, Nathan Fielder's “Dumb Starbucks” sparked a debate over the parody of protected brand names; before that, the company fought a high-profile, and ultimately unsuccessful, battle with a small New Hampshire coffee roaster called “Charbucks.”

More quietly, though, the...
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