When international coffee giant Starbucks sued tiny St Paul’s Bay café Strabuono, few were those who supported David when Goliath came knocking.
Many found the latter’s use of branding that was noticeably similar to that of Starbucks egregious behaviour that was on borrowed time.
With Starbucks’ expansion in the local market, it was only a matter of time before it turned its sights on Strabuono.
Malta-based eCommerce Consultant Matthias Camilleri recently took to LinkedIn to share his view on the matter.
“The recent Strabuono Malta vs Starbucks US court case is something I’ve been wanting to see for years,” he started.
Mr Camilleri said he first noticed this local operator a few years ago, adding that he was “unimpressed with the lack of creativity”.
He listed four factors that made the internationally renowned franchise’s case against the local café a legitimate one.
For one, Starbucks is the most popular fast-coffee brand worldwide, with a brand that almost anyone would recognise. “I would think you would if you own a coffee shop,” said Mr Camilleri.
Second, Strabuono also chose green as its main colour.
Third, the beginning of Strabuono’s name, ‘STRABU’, is too close for comfort to the first letters of Starbucks, ‘STARBU’.
And finally, Strabuono’s logo was also very similar to Starbucks'.
Mr Camilleri, who is a Facebook Blueprint certified advertiser and a marketing and events specialist, argued that if Strabuono had made different choices, “we would have probably cut them some slack”.
“But,” he continued, “this case is wrong on so many levels.”
He asked, “Can your business ever have an identity if not even the brand is original?”
“Whether it’s yours or not, Brands need to be protected. Always.”
The judge ordered Strabuono to pay €2,000 and ordered it to destroy any material bearing the old logo by 12th February.