Starbucks and other big name coffee chains are being sued in California in a bid to get them to label their coffee a product as a contacting a carcinogen. According to the report, Dunkin Donuts alleged that the slogan used by Mike Coffee constituted a trademark infringement and dilution and could cause consumer confusion.
A Massachusetts coffee shope owner says he received a cease-and-desist letter from Dunkin’ Donuts claiming trademark infringement for riffing on the chain’s catchphrase. Steve Copoulos tells the Sun Chronicle, he added window art reading “North now runs on Mike’s” on his new Mike’s Coffee shop in North Attleborough.
While he expected a few laughs from customers, Copoulos says he was surprised to find the letter from the Canton, Massachusetts-based coffee chain dated May 19 claiming he was infringing on their trademark “America Runs on Dunkin'” slogan. Copoulos says he wants to be the “exact opposite” of a corporate coffee chain by reopening his father’s shop. He has since washed off the sign. Dunkin’ Donuts did not immediately respond Wednesday to requests for comment from The Associated Press.
• This story has been changed to correct that Dunkin’ Donuts is based in Canton, Massachusetts, not Quincy.
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Dunkin’ Donuts Allegation
Mike’s Coffee Shop used the phrase “North Now Runs On Mike’s” in a handwritten message on the store’s front windows—a phrase it amended to “Plainville & North Now Runs On Mike’s” a few days later—and Dunkin’ Donuts wasn’t happy. The company sent a cease-and-desist letter to store owner Steve Copoulos, he told the Sun Chronicle.
“Displaying ‘Plainville & North now runs on Mike’s’ creates a likelihood of confusion among consumers by implying that you are an approved vendor of ours,” the letter read. “Your actions are clearly designed to trade on the goodwill and reputation associated with the America Runs on Dunkin’ trademark and constitutes both trademark infringement and trademark dilution.”
Copoulos told the Sun Chronicle his intentions were not to copy the company, and that Dunkin’ Donuts has tried to buy the building his coffee shop is in several times. “They don’t want any competition,” he said. He has since washed off the handwritten message, replacing it with “Plainville & North powered by Mike’s.”
In the trademark world Gray area under slogan is a bit of a field, even if it can be protected by a trademark. To be preserved in the form of a trademark, a slogan should be naturally accompanied by a secondary meaning, both specific and constructive, which calls a product or service immediately into the mind. Unless a slogan is developed, the secondary meaning of the consumer’s mind, the trademark protection that can be offered to that slogan is limited.
In the case of Dunkin’
Keeps at least one trademark that protects the use of this specific slogan in commerce. U.S. Trademark Registration No. 3399798 protects the use of the standard character mark “AMERICA RUNS ON DUNKIN’”. With restaurant services and carry-out food services. There can be a question on this question whether this trademark empowers Dunkin Donuts to exclude others from using any branding which runs on “[location] [name]” on syntax, but it is possible that combining with the use of slogan is a coffee shop, which may remind the consumers of Dunkin donuts, as well as on cases of trademark infringement, Duke may be forced To enter the suit for the run.
Three reasons to be cautious about investing in Dunkin Brand
1) Baskin Robbins: Let’s face it. We like the 31 flavors but Baskin Robbins has been holding Dunkin’ Donuts back. With average store sales just over $295,000 in 2010, most franchisees can barely stay afloat. Dunkin’ Brands has failed to revive this concept and unfortunately, I think we will continue to see more Baskin Robbins stores close.
2) Dunkin’ Donuts Growth beyond the East Coast: The concept is stellar. When coffee is 60% of your sales and you are generating the volumes that Dunkin’ Donuts is (average store in New England generates just under $1.0mm in sales), it really is a no-brainer. But, in the Midwest, the average store generates $600,000 in sales (40% lower than the northeast). This is certainly a cause for concern for new franchisees entering the system since there is little room for expansion on the East Coast. It’s also a concern for stock investors because without new expansion, Dunkin’ Brands’ management will not meet growth goals.
3) Legal Battles: In 2010 alone, 15 lawsuits were brought forth against Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees. McDonald’s, the biggest franchise in the world, had 6. This is troubling for both investors and franchisees. As a stock investor, do you want to be involved in a brand where franchisees are unhappy? See Quiznos for the worst case scenario.
Previously, Dunkin Donuts attempted to brand itself as “the best coffee in America”, but the trademark was rejected in 2012 in the US Patent and Trademark Office because “The applicable mark [appreciated only for perceived quality And were laudable] of the applicant’s services and those belongings. ” In February this year, Dunkin Donuts alleged that Dunkin ‘Donuts has failed to talk to consumers that they are no longer able to serve Splenda and in return instead of providing a sugar sweetener, instead of Splenda Artificial Sweetener manufacturer Hartland Consumer Products A trademark infringement case has been settled by. Products which also used yellow packaging.