If given the choice, fair coffee drinker, would you prefer Starbucks … or Dumb Starbucks?
Before you answer, know that Dumb Starbucks in Los Feliz, Calif., has recently had an hour-long wait time:
What is Dumb Starbucks, you ask? From everything we can tell, it’s an exploration in trademark law. It opened on Friday, offering free coffee.
Real Starbucks is “looking into it right now,” and a company spokesperson assured SCPR.org
, the website of Southern California Public Radio, that it was not affiliated with Starbucks.
Company spokesman Zack Hutson told the Los Angeles Times
that the shop is in its crosshairs: “We are evaluating next steps, and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.”
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There’s a Dumb Starbucks Twitter account, but it hasn’t been updated since Saturday:
SCPR.org also published a photo of an FAQ for Dumb Starbucks. It claims that by adding the word “dumb” in front of Starbucks (and all of Starbucks’ products), it’s making fun of the real thing, and is therefore a parody.
Although we’re a functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbucks needs to be categorized as a work of parody art. So, in the eyes of the law, our “coffee shop” is actually an art gallery and the “coffee” you’re buying is considered the art.
Good luck with that. I’m sure Starbucks has a terrible legal team that won’t figure out a way to shut it down. Our follow-up post here will likely be titled “Why you should never, ever poke the dragon.”
The LA Times
reports that Dumb Starbucks is a stunt for the Comedy Central show "Nathan for You," which is all about host Nathan Fielder giving business owners terrible advice, then following through on it. The Los Angeles County Health Department has shut the store down.