THAILAND - Starbucks on Monday publicly defended its lawsuit against two Thai coffee stalls, claiming it has to protect its standards.
"We put emphasis on trademarks and it is necessary to launch appropriate actions against the violation of our trademark. This is to protect our clients and prevent possible damage to our reputation and brand," the US multinational said in a statement.
Throughout its 40-year history, it has put efforts into internationalising its reputation and brand, so it is important for it to maintain "the Starbucks experience", which is guaranteed whenever clients see its logo, it said.
Starbucks has resorted to friendly approaches and many violators have agreed to change their logos. Many attempts were made to convince Starbung owners to do the same thing, it said.
"We didn't want them to stop selling coffee, but to use a different logo. Starbucks also offered solutions to change the logo, but unfortunately, the owners declined to talk with us. We have no choice but take legal action."
On Monday, the first day of the case, the Intellectual Property and International Trade Court ordered both Damrong and Damras to show up on November 18 to explain why they are still using the old logo. The two defendants did not appear at the court.
Starbucks demanded that the vendors stop using their logo, whose shape and colour are similar to the chain's logo. The company's attorneys showed the court a photo of the Thais' sidewalk stall taken on Sunday.
Starbucks also pressed for compensation of Bt300,000 (S$11,000) plus Bt30,000 a month in legal fees.
Defence attorney Nakorn Chomphoochart said his clients have refused to engage in negotiations with Starbucks, as they still don't understand the laws involved.
Starbucks should also be prepared to understand his clients, who insist that their green-and-white logo, which depicts a Muslim man at its centre with crescent moons on the sides, was inspired by Islam, not Starbucks, he said.
Since landing in Thailand 15 years ago, Starbucks has opened over 150 branches.