Humor of Dumb Starbucks Lost on Copyright Lawyers

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Copyright and trademark lawyers have their hands full, thanks to the recent Dumb Starbucks scandal. New reports reveal that TV comedian Nathan Fielder is responsible for the parody coffee shop Dumb Starbucks, with tentative plans to use the stint in his Comedy Central show “Nathan For You.”

Fielder’s Dumb Starbucks is emblazoned with the same green and white siren and sans-serif typeface. The thinly veiled reference is a problem, Starbucks says. A spokeswoman for the Starbucks Corporation, Laurel Harper, wrote in an email, “While we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark.”

Dumb Starbucks Keeping Lawyers Busy

Few would argue that the Dumb Starbucks parody is complex. TV comedian Fielder simply prefaced menu headings and items with dumb, as in dumb iced coffee and dumb caramel macchiato. Even so, the prank is causing an enormous legal stir — and giving lawyers on both sides plenty to do. A response on a list of FAQs playfully acknowledged the potential legal nightmare: “Although we are a fully functioning coffee shop, for legal reasons Dumb Starbusks 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. But that’s for our lawyers to worry about. All you need to do is enjoy our delicious coffee!” Courts will likely determine whether Dumb Starbucks constitutes a parody or trademark infringement, The International Business Times predicts.

A Critical Shortage of Lawyers

Dumb Starbucks may or may not function as a true parody. The stint does, however, remind us that there is a shortage of lawyers, and plenty of opportunities for in house legal recruitment or a legal recruitment agency. Legal job recruiters often have a large network of experienced lawyers at their disposal — including lawyers specializing in particular cases or areas, such as copyright law.

Dumb Starbucks may or may not be in for a considerable amount of legal backlash. Either way, the case is likely to keep legal recruitment firms, legal job recruiters, and lawyers busy. Links like this.

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