The ingenuity of the American people is legendary, and one of the invigorating factors that drives the engine of capitalism in this country.
Much to the chagrin of a law firm representing Starbucks, a small brewery owner in Missouri displayed his own brand of clever, innovative thinking to overcome an unexpected challenge.
After receiving a cease-and-desist letter in early December for using the name “Frappicino” to describe a stout served at Exit 6 Brewery, owner Jeff Britton let the giant coffee company know he renamed the drink in question — calling it the “F Word,” NPR reported.
“As you probably don’t know, Exit 6 is the proud owner of no trademarks including our own name much less than the name ‘F Word’ and nothing about Exit 6 is incontestable,” Britton wrote in response to the letter sent by attorney Anessa Owen Kramer — he cc’ed “Mr Bucks” in his correspondence.
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As Kramer stated, the name too closely resembled Starbucks’ Frappuccino, and the similar names might cause customers to “mistakenly believe that Exit 6 or this beer product is affiliated with or licensed by Starbucks Coffee Co., when they are not.”
Britton was quick to point out in his response that it was only similar to the F Word [Frappuccino] because he meant to call it the same thing. “Lucky for us, we’re poor spelers [sic],” he wrote.
He also enclosed a check to Starbucks for the $6 in profit he derived from the confirmed sale of three beers, saying “us small business owners need to stick together,” according to NPR.
“When I got that letter, I had to laugh,” Brittin told local TV news KSDK. “I don’t blame Starbucks for doing what they did, I understand why they did it and they had every right to do it. But I’m a small brewery, small bar, in a small town, that makes small batches of beer.”
It turns out that the “F Word” is even more popular, with at least a half-dozen people posting on a beer aficionado web site to say they were drinking pints of it.
As for the aforementioned legendary ingenuity, Britton is now selling T-shirts that feature the $6 check.
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