Owners of Brooklyn coffee shop The End have filed a lawsuit against Starbucks, claiming that the company’s famous new unicorn frappuccino was a copy of one of their very own drinks, the unicorn latte. The End started selling their Unicorn Latte all the way back in December 2016, way before Starbuck’s viral version arrived.
According to the gossip site, The End’s lawsuit claims that the drinks are unusually similar. Both are pink and blue, and both are served without any actual coffee. The End filed to patent the name “unicorn latte” in January 2017.
The suit claims: “Starbucks’ conduct has diluted the distinctive quality of [The End’s] famous Unicorn Latte mark and has and is likely to continue to confuse consumers into believing that Starbucks’ products are affiliated with, or are otherwise endorsed or approved by [The End], and vice-versa.” The coffee shop is also seeking an unknown amount of money from Starbucks for “infringing, diluting, and otherwise diminishing the value of [The End’s] intellectual property.”
The response from Starbucks? In a statement, the coffee giant said: “The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino blended beverage was inspired by the fun, spirited and colorful unicorn-themed food and drinks that have been trending in social media.”
Now, looking at the two drinks side by side, I have to say that I can’t see much of a similarity between the two. Sure, they both use the allure of unicorns to sell themselves, but apart from that, there’s not much of a visual link.
Then there’s the actual content of the drink itself. Unlike Starbucks’ variation, The End’s drink is made of cold pressed lemon juice, Maqui berry, a blue-green algae called E3 Live, and steamed coconut milk. On the other hand, Starbucks’ version is made from milk, artificial sweeteners, color additives, and pinches of fruit juice concentrate.
So if this case doesn’t have a hope of being won, what was the point? Well, as I’m sure you can agree, it’s certainly caused something of a stir online, and has given The End a nice little flurry of publicity. Who knew unicorns could cause so much drama?