A trendy coffee shop says that Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino is a rip off of their own Unicorn Latte — and it is taking Starbucks to court over the brightly-coloured beverage.
On Wednesday, Brooklyn coffee shop The End and parent company Montauk Juice Factory filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for launching the Unicorn Frappuccino, a drink that the company says confuses customers and “overshadows” its own Unicorn Latte.
The End debuted the Unicorn Latte, a blended beverage made with ingredients including ginger, dates, cashews, and blue-green algae, in December 2016. The brightly-coloured drink quickly became popular, making up 25% of The End’s revenue since January and getting coverage in publications including in the New York Times and TimeOut.
Montauk Juice Factory filed a trademark application for the drink in late January. Here’s what it looks like:
In April, Starbucks launched the Unicorn Frappuccino — a drink that the lawsuit alleges quickly became the “dominant ‘Unicorn’ beverage overnight.” Soon, the coffee shop says that many customers believed that the Unicorn Frappuccino pre-dated the Unicorn Latte and began confusing the two drinks.
For comparison, here’s one of the many photos of the Unicorn Frappuccino that flooded Instagram:
“This widespread confusion was made worse by the derision and ridicule that Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino encountered upon launch,” the lawsuit reads. “For example, People Magazine broadly proclaimed that Katy Perry, a world-renowned recording artist and marketing icon, ‘Spits Out Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino After One Sip.'”
The coffee shop and its owner want Starbucks to give them all of the “ill-gotten” profits from the Unicorn Frappuccino, as well as pay for damages to the “Unicorn Latte brand.” The plaintiffs are also demanding Starbucks never again advertise the Unicorn Frappuccino and publish a statement “correcting the confusion.”
“We are aware of the claims and believe they are without merit,” a Starbucks spokesperson told Business Insider. “The Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino blended beverage was inspired by the fun, spirited and colourful unicorn-themed food and drinks that have been trending in social media.”
Unicorn dishes have been blowing up on social media in recent months. DRINK, a coffee bar inside an American Eagle store in Times Square, also sold a Unicorn Latte — but, as noted in the lawsuit, changed the name of the drink to “Pegasus Latte” after receiving a cease and desist letter from The End.
There’s also unicorn toast…
Unicorn “poop” cookies…
…and unicorn pancakes.
It’s indisputable that unicorns are everywhere in 2017. Now, it’s up to the courts to decide if Starbucks owes The End for getting in on the trend.
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