Oh yes, this is the good stuff. The latest front in the war between hipster cafes and the behemoth Starbucks is over, incredibly appropriately, Instagram. The End is a Brooklyn cafe and the pioneers of the Unicorn Latte, and they’re none too happy with the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino. Despite the Unicorn Frap already having come and gone, The End is suing Starbucks over trademark infringement.
The End filed for a trademark on the Unicorn Latte in October of last year, which was officially filed in January (the owner of the trademark is Montauk Juice Factory, which operates The End). Unlike the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, The End’s latte is made from natural ingredients and was billed as a health food of sorts — it contains ginger, coconut milk, honey, lemon, and algae.
In other words, it doesn’t resemble the Starbucks drink at all. There is one important similarity, though — they both ended up all over Instagram. The End’s Unicorn Latte was arguably the pioneer of the unicorn food trend on Instagram, and now they want these Johnny-come-lately Starbucks characters to pay up.
The upshot of all this is probably more delicious than either drink — the suit boils down to The End being unhappy that they were doing unicorn drinks before it was cool. It’s…probably not the strongest case. Having the Unicorn Latte trademark helps, which The End is using to claim that Starbucks’ frappuccino caused confusion among customers and cost them millions in sales. That seems to imply that The End thinks they have sole rights to unicorn-themed drinks, which is…probably not the strongest case.
Will they make Starbucks pay? It looks like The End has got as good of a chance in court as finding an actual unicorn, but who knows? I’m just sitting here amused over a lawsuit over lattes and frappuccinos that does not involve even a single drip of actual coffee.