About business & law
Starbungs insists logo inspired by Islam with old Muslim man at centre, hopes case continues, sales have risen to 150 cups a day.
Push-cart coffee vendor Damrong Maslae makes milk tea under his "Starbung Cof fee' ' logo on Phra Athit Road in Phra Nakhon district. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
Starbucks rival prepared to go to jail over logo fight
Sirinya Wattanasukchai and Phusadee Arunmas
The roadside push-cart coffee vendor being sued by US coffee giant Starbucks for trademark infringement says he is willing to go to jail but will not remove his logo
The "Starbung Cof fee" logo features a green-and-white motif which the well-known international coffee chain said is a copy of its trademark
Starbucks sent a cease-and-desist letter to Starbung owner Damrong Maslae telling him to stop using the logo last year.
Starbucks also filed a trademark violation complaint with the Intellectual Property Court and asked for an injunction which the court granted
Kulanee Issadisai, acting director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said Starbung resisted the injunction order so Starbucks filed another complaint through its legal representative Tilleke & Gibbins International Co last week, asking for compensation amounting to 300,000 baht plus 7.5% interest per year.
Starbucks Corp is also demanding a monthly payment of 30,000 baht plus legal fees
The court has set the first hearing for Nov 4. Mr Damrong, 43, claimed the logo was designed by his friend and was not similar to that of Starbucks.
He said it was inspired by Islam, featuring an old Muslim man at the centre. The Starbucks emblem features a woman.
"I won't remove my trademark logo or change the name no matter what " said Mr Damrong, whose story was featured in Britain's The Guardian newspaper while Japanese media also are waiting to talk to him.
The case has generated thousands of comments from netizens
Some people argued that a giant corporation like Starbucks, which generates revenue of more than 412 billion baht per year, should not take the street vendor to court as there was no way people could confuse Starbung, which sells coffee for 25 to 40 baht, with Starbucks where the brew is at least three times the price.
Others said the case is a clear violation of intellectual property rights and has nothing to do with wealth or a lack thereof. "Who would walk to the roadside Starbung stall thinking it was Starbucks?" a person who used the name "Yaoharee" posted on the popular Pantip website.
"The big store sent a letter to warn the vendor but he ignored it. That is why he is faced with the lawsuit Who would think the logo is not a copy?" another with the name "boonboon-sk" wrote.
For now, Mr Damrong said the dispute is serving him well as it has boosted his local brew business.
"I hope the issue continues," said Mr Damrong.
He is now selling about 150 cups of coffee each day, up from between 50 and 100 before the heavy media coverage of his battle with the coffee giant.
As for the court case he said he can't afford a lawyer and will have to seek help from the Lawyers Council of Thailand.
"I won't run away, and nor will I be able to pay a fine But I can serve a jail term if I have to," he said.
If found guilty he could face punishment of two years in jail or a fine of up to 200,000 baht.
Starbucks said it was left with no choice but to take legal steps to protect its trademark after several attempts to resolve the issue amicably with Starbung were unsuccessful.
Learn from listening
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afford: to have enough money to be able to pay for something - มีเงินพอจับจ่าย ซื้อหา
amicably: in a polite or friendly way and without arguing - เป็นกันเอง, อย่างมีมารยาท
argue: to give reasons why you think that something is right/wrong, true/not true, etc, especially to persuade people that you are right - ห้เหตุผล, อ้างเหตุผล
attempt: when a person tries to do something or achieve some goal, makes an effort to do it - ความพยายาม
battle: a fight; serious disagreement, strong competition, etc. - การต่อสู้
boost: to increase - เพิ่ม
brew: to make a liquid through a process, especially beer - ปรุง
case: a matter that is being officially investigated or heard by a court - คดี
cease-and-desist: an official order or letter telling someone to stop something or face legal action - คำสั่งทางราชการให้งดเว้นการกระทำ
chain: a group of businesses (restaurants, hotels, etc.) owned by the same company - บริษัทต่างๆที่อยู่ในเครือเดียวกัน
claim: saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
clear: easy to see and understand - ชัดเจน
comment: expressing an opinion - แสดงความคิดเห็น
compensation: money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them - เงินชดเชย
complaint: when someone says that something is wrong or not satisfactory - การร้องเรียน
confused: unable to understand something or think clearly about it - สับสน
copycat: similar to something else and considered to be a copy of it - เลียนแบบ
corporation: a large business company - บริษัท
court: the place where legal trials take place and where crimes, etc. are judged - ศาล
coverage: the reporting of news and sport in newspapers and on the radio and television - การรายงานข่าว
demand: a very firm request for something - ข้อเรียกร้อง, การเรียกร้อง
dispute: a serious disagreement; a conflict - ข้อพิพาท
emblem: a sign or symbol - สัญลักษณ์, เครื่องหมาย
feature: to include someone or something as an important part - ทำให้เด่น
feature: to include someone or something as an important part - มีบทบาทสำคัญใน
fee: an amount of money that someone pays to be allowed to do something, or in this case, to hire someone - ค่าธรรมเนียม, ค่าจ้าง
file a complaint: to make an official statement that someone has done something wrong - ยื่นคำร้อง
fine: an amount of money that you have to pay because you have broken the law - ค่าปรับ
generate: to produce - ผลิต, ก่อให้เกิด
grant: to officially give something - ให้
guilty: having been decided by a court of law that you committed the crime your were accused of - มีความผิด
ignore: to intentionally not listen or give attention to - ทำเพิกเฉย
infringement: breaking a rule, law, etc. - การฝ่าฝืน,การละเมิด
injunction: an order form a court that prevents someone from doing something - คำสั่งคุ้มครองชั่วคราว, คำสั่งห้าม
inspire: to give people a particular feeling or a desire to do somethng - จุดประกาย
intellectual property: something that someone has created or invented and that no one else is legally allowed to make, copy, or sell - ทรัพย์สินทางปัญญา
interest: the money that a bank or other financial company charges you when you borrow money, or the money it pays you when you keep money in an account - ดอกเบี้ย
international: connected with or involving two or more countries - นานาชาติ, สากล, ระหว่างประเทศ
issue: a subject that people discuss or argue about - ประเด็น
jail term: the length of time a person is required to spend in jail -
lack: to not have something needed - ขาด
lawsuit: a case that a court is asked to decide involving a disagreement between two people or groups - คดีที่ยื่นฟ้องต่อศาล
legal: relating to the law or lawyers - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
logo: a printed design or symbol that a company or an organization uses as its special sign - โลโก้, เครื่องหมาย
media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
motif: a shape or pattern that is repeated in a design or decoration; an idea, subject or pattern that is frequently repeated - แม่ลาย
netizen: a person who uses the Internet a lot - พลเมืองเครือข่ายคอมพิวเตอร์
no matter what: always true, whatever the situation is - ไม่ว่าในกรณีใด, มิไย
order: to use your position of authority to tell somebody to do something or say that something must happen - สั่ง
popular: a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
protect: to make sure that something is not harmed or damaged - ปกป้อง, ป้องกัน
punishment: an act or a way of punishing somebody - การลงโทษ
push-cart: a small vehicle that you push along by hand - รถเข็น
representative: someone who has been chosen or elected by a person or group to vote, give opinions, or make decisions for them - ผู้แทน
resist: to oppose or fight against someone or something - ต่อต้าน
resolve: to solve a problem - แก้ปัญหา
revenue: income from taxes or business activities - รายได้
right: something that you are allowed to do, either by law or morally - สิทธิ
rival: a person, group, team or business that competes with another - คู่ต่อสู้, คู่ปรับ, คู่แข่ง
similar: like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน
stall: a large table or a small building that is open at the front, used for selling things (or for giving people information) - รถ หรือแผงขายของ
step: one of a series of actions that you do in order to achieve a particular aim - ขั้นตอน
street vendor: someone who sells goods informally in public places - คนหาบเร่,คนเร่ขายของ
sue: to take legal action against a person or organisation, especially by making a legal claim for money because of some harm that they have caused you - ฟ้องร้อง
trademark: a name, symbol or design that a company uses for its products and that cannot be used by anyone else - เครื่องหมายการค้า
vendor: someone who sells something, but often not in a shop - พ่อค้าแม่ค้าแผงลอย
vendors: people who sell things, e.g., food or newspapers, usually outside on the street - พ่อค้าแม่่ค้าหาบแร่แผงลอย
violation: an action that is against a law, agreement, principle, etc. - การฝ่าฝืน
warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน
wealth: a large amount of money, property, etc. that a person or country owns - ความมั่งคั่ง
willing: to be happy to do something if it is needed - ซึ่งสมัครใจ, ซึ่งมีความตั้งใจ