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Starbucks loses another round in long legal fight with 'Charbucks'

Nov. 16, 2013 at 12:45 AM

NEW YORK, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- A small New Hampshire coffee company can continue to market its "Charbucks" roast over the objections of Starbucks, a federal appeals court said Friday.

Three judges with the Second Circuit in New York ruled in favor of the Wolfe's Borough Coffee Co., which operates as the Black Bear Micro Roastery. The panel upheld a ruling by a lower court.

Starbucks, now the world's biggest coffee shop chain with more than 20,000 outlets in 62 countries, has been battling Wolfe's Borough for several years. The company, which describes itself on its website as "small, dedicated, and highly focused on quality," is located in Center Tuftonboro on Lake Winnipesauke.

The Black Bear coffees include "Mr. Charbucks" and "Charbucks Blend," and the company has been using the word "Charbucks" since 1997. The company has one retail store and also sells its coffees through a few New England stores.

Starbucks went to court in 2001 and so far has lost consistently. A U.S. district judge rejected its request for an injunction after a bench trial in 2005 and appeals and rehearings have also been fruitless.

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