Exit 6 Pub and Brewery writes open letter, sends $6 check to Starbucks after C&D notice

Exit 6 Brewery logo(Cottleville, MO) – Exit Six Pub and Brewery made its displeasure with Starbucks clear in a Thursday Facebook post after the coffee giant sent the company a cease-and-desist letter for a beer named, “Frappicino.”

So quick little story. Last week I received a cease and desist letter from the attorneys at Starbucks. Apparently there was a beer on Untappd that someone named “Frappicino”. 3 people had checked into said beer. 3. Starbucks did like that. So I got a letter. They wanted me to remove the beer and promise never to use their names again. They also wanted my written response and guarantee. Here is their letter. And also my response.

The beer in question has since been removed from the Untappd website. Below are the documents that Exit Six made public on Thursday.

Starbucks 1

Starbucks 2

Exit 6 1

Exit 6 2

[New Check Image Below]

Exit 6 Brewery 3


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92 thoughts on “Exit 6 Pub and Brewery writes open letter, sends $6 check to Starbucks after C&D notice

  1. Yeah, I’d remove the check image or use an editing program to properly cover the account number. It is easily readable.

  2. Someone should teach Ms Kramer how to spell, because the 2 different spellings of the “F” word in her letter have 2 different letters not one as she has stated.

  3. Someone might also want to point out to their lawyer that spelling has nothing to do with phonetics and for something to be “phonetically identical” he would have had to record all 3 users SAYING this word…in which case given regional differences its highly unlikely anyways. Haha The meaning of the root “phon” being SOUND!

  4. good someone stood up to them. Would be nice if trademarks only applied to the specific item from a specific company, not the word everywhere it’s used (technically Starbucks thinks you owe them money everytime you speak the F-Word because they have that little TM.

    Kind of baseless and moronic on Starbucks’ side there, like anyone ever heard of Cocaine energy drink? Yes, it does exist, but usually only in little bodega stores and online because the convenience store chains refuse to stock it over the name. When that happened, they reproduced cans with a message mocking people who make a big deal over a name for a product.

  5. Trademarks weaken when not enforced. They are worthless if the holder of the trademark does not attempt to enforce each infraction where there is a legal basis to do so. I mean, right on to Exit 6, but it’s not like Starbucks actually cared; they’re just insuring the structure of their trademarks for future more legitimate legal disputes. But yes, there are two letters that differ, not one, Ms. Kramer.

  6. McDonald’s sells a frappuccino. They call it a frappe, but still… Is that trademark infringement, too? What if someone gets confused that they are at McDonald’s instead of Starbucks? Hmmm. I guess they don’t want to go after the big guys, just the small ones.

  7. There’s another F-word reserved for people who have to shoe horn their political views into every conversation. Looking at you there, Bill Lewis.

    I bet you’re a lot of fun at lynch parties.

  8. Frappe is the proper term. It would be like copyrighting the word coffee. Not that I would be surprised if someone tried to do so.

  9. I’ve always thought Frappucino was a freeping stupid name for a coffee anyway. It doesn’t sound all that great for a beer either. Maybe ice cream instead.

  10. The best news is that Exit 6 gets free marketing and a great name (or names) for their beer. The F Word can be the Stout. The F Bomb…an Imperial Stout!
    And, they can sell a tall and a grande beer, that shouldn’t be an issue, right?

  11. Brilliant Response by Exit 6 Pub.
    Another example of how lawyers are ruining this country. It’s the American way, just sue.

  12. Funny how some neanderthal Luddites are actually deceived by the NRA into believing ANYONE wants to take their precious, precious guns. Their obsession with a non-existent problem is as foolish as Starbucks’ obsession with Exit 6.

  13. Actually, Starbucks didn’t have a choice. I’m not an IP attorney but as I understand the law, this is common practice. In order to keep their intellectual property rights intact, they were obligated to enforce those rights against all infringers, no matter the size or scope of infringement. If they don’t take these actions, they could lose their rights. Sorry, not as exciting as the “big corporation picking on the ‘little’ guy”… But the truth is usually not as exciting.

  14. This is great. Someone create another beer called Frappuccino on untapped, but make it an A-B beer, then get a bunch of people to check in and let’s see what happens.

  15. @H – You are not correct. The idea that “intellectual property” rights must be enforced continuously against any minor infringement is a myth cooked up by IP attorneys that want to ensure the spigot of fees from large corporations remains firmly open. There is no legal imperative that makes that necessary. It is pure fiction.

  16. Mareshah – phonetic equivalents is a legal term of art. You don’t understand it, so don’t preach about it. Leave the lawyering to the lawyers.

  17. Anyone who thinks it’s not a big deal to brand a beer after a previously entrenched brand is not very thoughtful to how the real world works and probably arrogant. This guy’s response to Starbucks seemingly warranted cease and desist letter seems to make my point.

  18. This is *almost* as moronic as the trademarking of the song “Happy Birthday to you”! That is why restaurants have to make up their own stupid little songs….. someone might post that the restaurant sang them the “OFFICIAL” birthday song and get sued! Ugh! Hope they didn’t catch me singing it to my daughter the other day!

  19. Here Here!!! All of the Dumbfounded Lemmings believing the propoganda that the NRA and the bible thumpin far right wingers are pushing on the general public…. Cudo’s to Exit 6 for their mockery of the bullies… Can’t wait to see another 600+ stores close… and another… and another…

  20. Starbucks has no choice but to follow actions like this or they lose copyright. Small business owners might not be a threat but when they let it go to small guys the argument against big guys no longer holds water.

  21. So many folks here are applauding Mr. Britton’s letter. As a St Charles local, I frequent Exit 6 (I really do enjoy his beer, he’s got a jalapeno brew that makes your eyes water), and i do not much care for Starbucks. Can’t remember the last time I bought anything from them and find it obnoxious how many Starbucks litter the American landscape. However, as a business owner I take issue with his response. Starbucks invented a name, trademarked that name, and spent millions promoting it. They have a duty to protect that trademark. Further, I don’ think the letter their attorney sent was hostile…not nearly as hostile as Mr. Britton’s response anyway.

    As a corollary, I wonder what Mr. Britton would think if i set up shop near Exit 6 selling “Exit 6 Brats”? There I am, selling my brats out of a collapsible tent just down the street from Exit 6. They aren’t beer, so clearly my customers won’t be confused into thinking they are purchasing a pint of Mr. Britton’s lager. However, might they reasonably think that some of his beer was IN the brat? That maybe Exit 6 ENDORSED the brat? Would Mr. Britton be a little peeved that his hard work in getting the name “Exit 6” out into the world, the labor he went through to make sure that this name meant “quality beer” to the locals here was being used by some dude in a collapsible tent to sell brats? I wouldn’t blame him for being a bit upset.

    Let’s further assume that my brats really suck. They are so horrible my own mother would not eat them. Would Mr. Britton worry that having his name associated with this foul product might reflect poorly on his fine brews? He should.

    Starbucks is doing the reasonable thing. They are defending their trademark (as they are required to do) and they are asking politely (sure, with the implied backing of the law…but politely none-the-less) that Mr. Britton refrain from cashing in on Starbuck’s efforts at branding a product and to refrain from attaching their product’s name (or something instantly recognizable as the product name) to a product the quality of which Starbucks has no control over.

    This request does not become magically evil just because Starbucks has been hugely successful. I think we have a tendency to get so wrapped up in our David and Goliath narrative that sometimes we miss when when David is being a jerk.

  22. Pingback: Missouri Bar Responds To Cease And Desist From Starbucks With Epic Letter And $6 Check | Elite Daily

  23. That’s not true Rob. Copyright is not invalidated by a failure to exercise legal action against every minor infringer. It’s legal fiction. The only danger to copyright is through trademark erosion, like in the case of Kleenex where the term becomes generic. That’s hardly the case here.

    And anyway, a trademark action would only apply where there was a high likelihood that a “reasonable person” would confuse the two products as being the same thing. I don’t think any reasonable person would walk into a bar and confuse a beer on tap for the drink that’s sold by Starbucks. And that’s precisely the argument that Starbucks would have to make in court for this to be a valid case.

  24. First let me say Exit 6′s response was brilliant but not quite correct. And please don’t blame the lawyers. If a company like McDonalds were to start using the Starbucks name “Frappuccino” or one like it and Starbucks then sent McDs the same kind of C&D letter, If McDonalds could prove in court three things:

    1. Exit 6 had previously used substantially the same name for a product of their own resulting in financial gain no matter how small.

    2. Starbucks knew about that use and

    3. Did nothing to stop the use of their trademarked name.

    Then McDonald might be able to successfully argue in a court that Starbucks had abandoned their claim to the name and thereby their sole rights to use that name going forward.

    In this age of Marketing where many companies sell virtually the same product (in this case a coffee drink) the only thing that differentiates one company from the other is the collection of trademarked names they each own and use to market their products. While no sane person would ever confuse Exit 6′s beer with a Starbucks coffee drink, they might be confused if later on McDs were to start calling a coffee drink of their own “Frappuccino” or a name like it. Starbucks might not be able to stop the use of their trademarked name at that point.
    The MOST valuable property that any company owns are their trademarked names. That is why, unfortunately, from time to time a monster sized company (Starbucks) has to “go after” a tiny business, to ultimately protect their own intellectual property from another monster sized company (McDonalds).

    Exit 6s response was very clever and their action to stop using the name “Frappicino” was correct. If Exit 6 renames their affected beers “F Word” and “F Bomb” (And trademarks the names), they could ultimately be the financial winners!

  25. Interesting comments. I think some people are taking this way too seriously. I don’t care if Starbucks should have acted or not. I just took it as a humorous response from Jeff . I’m a former Republican turned Democrat because of all the B.S. spread by conservatives. Every story I’ve seen spread by conservatives is B.S. especially on guns. Sorry but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to call out Bill Lewis on his stupid comment.

  26. You guys are sooo missing it! The new name of the beer is “F Word” beer. I’m a Graphic Designer, and would be willing to design the “F ing” label for your new “F Word” beer. That would be “F ing” tastey.
    My resume: an old poster board with a dull sharpEE marker. Scribbled on it says “WILL WORK FOR F-WORD BEER”.

  27. Perhaps this product has become a public domain name, such as a kleenex. I don’t know precisely what a frappacino is, but if you go to Panera and ask for one, you’ll get it I bet. I think it’s a frozen concoction of some sort. Ahhh, now my mind is working…FRozenCAPPACINO.

    Or something like that.

  28. Trademark != Copyright, they are very different things in the world of intellectual property. Copyrights are automatic on a variety of things and don’t have to be registered, but usually a good idea in case you may need to stop infringement at a later time and date. You don’t have to actively defend a copyright. If someone infringes your copyright then infringement is infringement and you have a case. Copyright can expire (In theory, but every time Mickey Mouse is about to enter the Public Domain it seems to get extended another hundred years), but until it does you own it end of story.

    Trademarks have to be registered and they have to be defended and defended diligently else one can lose the Trademark. And it has happened before when a company’s invention becomes the defacto public name, i.e. “Kleenex” for any tissue or “Xerox” for photocopy…

  29. Mr. Bucks could have called, explained his problem, and just asked Exit 6 to change the name. Instead, Starbucks overreacted by having their lawyer send a snotty letter. Not every disagreement requires a lawyer to intervene; especially when a friendly conversation would do the job. If friendly outreach doesn’t resolve the issue, a lawyer can then send the snotty letter.

  30. How dare those bastards at Exit 6 use the almighty F word… I may call the ACLU over this matter. I am offended by this to no end.. wow, Starbucks, you guys really take the proverbial cake… You suck and your overpriced coffee blows. I’ll stick with Speedways!!! Exit 6, If I ever get that way, I’d love to try some F-word beer!!!!!

  31. Exit 6, always fun to see a little wit in action. To “tiredofstupid”,
    one could only take away from your comment that you must be tired wherever you go. Maybe you could use a Frappuccino

  32. I never heard of Exit 6 until now. This is free advertising. I will try them out tomorrow. Hopefully its good beer!!!!!

  33. Hmm, just another reason not to spend my money at Starbucks. First they want me to surrender my second amendment right and now their going for the first.

  34. I bet that check was cashed. Big corporations are greedy like that. Six dollars is six dollars.

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