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Coffee chain Starbucks has been granted a default judgment against Georgia-based Mermaid Cafe in a trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit.

Starbucks filed its complaint in November 2015 at the US District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Valdosta Division.

The owner of Mermaid Cafe never responded to the complaint.

Since 1971, Starbucks has used the trademarks ‘Starbucks’ and ‘Starbucks Coffee’ for a range of goods.

The ‘Siren’ logo, which features a mermaid, has been used by Starbucks since 1992, and the 40th anniversary ‘Siren’ logo has been in use since 2011.

In the suit, the coffee chain claimed that in April 2015 it had discovered a Facebook page for the café which “prominently” displayed a similar logo to the Starbucks ‘Siren’ logo.

It added that a post from March 2015 on the Facebook page had inquired: “Are you an actual Starbucks?”

According to Starbucks, the café responded: “We are on the Starbucks food service program.”

The coffee chain said: “This statement was false, misleading, designed to cause and caused actual confusion in the marketplace.”

A number of cease-and-desist letters were sent to the café, but there was no response, according to Starbucks.

On Tuesday, March 28, Senior Judge W Louis Sands granted default judgment.

He found that the café’s owner had committed trademark and copyright infringement, unfair competition, trademark dilution, unfair and deceptive trade practices.

Additionally, Sands enjoined the defendant from using the Starbucks marks and copyright, and the designation of “We Proudly Serve Starbucks”.

Starbucks was awarded statutory damages of $30,000.


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