Starbucks said it is considering how to proceed in response to a parody coffee shop called Dumb Starbucks.
The Dumb Starbucks store in Los Angeles is very similar to Starbucks except it has the word "dumb" in front of it.
In an email to USA TODAY Network on Monday, Starbucks said Dumb Starbucks is not affiliated with Starbucks.
"We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark," according to Starbuck's email.
The majority of trademark disputes are "handled informally," according to Starbucks spokeswoman Laurel Harper in an email to the Associated Press.
It's unclear who's behind Dumb Starbucks. The parody store says it is able to use the Starbucks name and logo because it is technically "making fun" of Starbucks and is considered "a work of parody art," according to a Dumb Starbucks letter.
The question is whether the word "dumb" sufficiently makes clear that the store is making fun of Starbucks and is not associated with Starbucks, said Mark McKenna, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in trademark law.
"My gut tells me a court would be bothered by how much of the Starbucks trademark was used. It's not just the word but they also made the store look just like it," McKenna said in an interview with USA TODAY Network.
A Feb. 7 tweet from @DumbStarbucks announced the store was open at 1802 Hillhurst Ave. in Los Angeles.
Inside the Dumb Starbucks, the menu also looks very similar to the Starbucks menu, with the word "dumb" in front of the items, such as "Dumb Espresso" and "Dumb Frappuccino."
The coffee sizes are dumb tall, dumb grande and dumb venti.
There were even "dumb" versions of the CDs sold at Starbucks.
According to tweets, people waited for an hour for their free Dumb Starbucks coffee.
Under the law, Dumb Starbucks is not a coffee shop but an art gallery, the letter says. "The 'coffee' you're buying is considered the art," the letter says. "But that's for our lawyers to worry about. All you need to do is enjoy our delicious coffee!"
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