Welp, that didn't take long. A 'parody' coffee shop bearing the familiar name and logo of a certain famous coffeehouse chain was shut down by the Los Angeles health inspectors four days after its grand opening. The 'Dumb Starbucks' coffee shop opened its doors at 1802 Hillhurst Ave. to much fanfare as customers queued in long lines to sample the coffee with names such as "Dumb Espresso" and "Dumb Frappuccino."
— Mark McCune (@MarkMcCune) February 8, 2014
The mysterious owner -- who turned out to be television comedian Nathan Fielder -- said the shop was perfectly legal because he used the word "dumb" in front of 'Starbucks'. Felder insisted he didn't need a permit to operate the business because the space was being run legally as an art gallery and the coffee products were art, not beverages.
"By adding the word 'dumb,' we are technically 'making fun' of Starbucks, which allows us to use their trademarks under a law known as 'fair use,'" read a notice on the front counter.
But, as People.com points out, the LA health inspector disagreed. The health inspectors shuttered the shop and placed a "notice of closure" by the front door.
Starbucks corporate brass also took notice of the new kid on the block. A spokesman for the Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. expressed her disapproval of the misuse of the company name.
"We are evaluating next steps and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark," said Laurel Harper in an email to USA Today.
Unlike copyrights, which can be used in cases of parody or editorial news, a registered trademark has different protections.
— Frank Stoltze (@StoltzeFrankly) February 9, 2014