Starsbuck and Kroika Take A legal Hit (January 10, 2006)
Alas, the Starsbuck coffee shop chain in China has been hit with a legal defeat-- China's fake 'Starbucks' is banned from using the name. Starsbuck learned the hard way that one's right to do business as one sees fit--after all, isn't imitation the highest form of praise?--is nasty, brutish and short once Westerners insist on bringing their legalistic rules to the Middle Kingdom.
Unfortunately, Starsbuck's inability to fob itself off as Starbucks--notice their logo even mimics the famous Starbucks sign, evidence of a high-quality counterfeit--has also negatively impacted the Kroika Cookie and Biscuit Company, the sponsors of this very weblog. As the photo reveals, Kroika had just inked a deal with Starsbuck to open jointly branded shops which would have been the exclusive retailers for Kroika's exciting new cookie, the s'Oreo.
As you might have guessed, the cookie is a mouth-watering sandwich of creamy filling placed between two crunchy chocolate wafers. Kroika's marketing plan--to which I contributed--called for exotically flavored fillings which would appeal to East-Asian palates: durian, squid, starfruit and orange marmalade (a holdover, it seems, from the British Empire).
Sadly, the squelching of Starsbuck has cast a pall over Kroika's world-beating plans for the s'Oreo cookie. Corporate in Xiangxi has promised to pay me despite the derailment of the product launch, and I can only hope the check is "the real thing."
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copyright © 2006 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.
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