The Space Needle, an iconic, 605 feet tall spire at the Seattle Center (with an observation deck and a rotating restaurant), has recently sued a local coffee chain alleging Trademark Infringement. According to the iconic tower’s owner, Local Coffee Spot, with four locations in the Seattle area, has been using the Space Needle’s trademarked logo in coffee shop branding and merchandise.
Local Coffee Spot’s logo features a mug of hot coffee with rising steam that resembles the observation tower’s logo, widely used on branded merchandise.
The owner of the Space Needle, a private company, said that Local Coffee Spot’s logo copied the iconic tower’s trademarked design and consequently filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in the US District Court in Seattle. Karen Olson, the head officer in charge of the Space Needle’s operations and marketing departments, stated that the legal action in question is unusual, if not unprecedented, for the company.
The co-owner of Local Coffee Spot, Beau McKeon, shared his feeling of surprise with the filing of this lawsuit. He said that he couldn’t believe that the venture he started as a way to employ people during the COVID-19 pandemic has now drawn a trademark infringement lawsuit. He also mentioned that he and his team are feeling very victimized, being small guys, and the entire scenario is beyond bullying.
According to Olson, the Space Needle has never sued any individual or entity alleging trademark infringement in her tenure of nearly ten years. She said that since trademarks are only valid if their owners enforce them well, the Space Needle’s marketing team keeps searching for unauthorized use or misuse of the iconic building’s name, image, and likeness. She further mentioned that the private company has worked with hundreds and hundreds of businesses whose logos didn’t comply well. She firmly believes that most of the time, people don’t realize that the Space Needle’s symbol is a Registered Trademark.
Olson stated that the Space Needle is neither asking for any monetary compensation in the lawsuit filed nor anything egregious – all it wants is others to stop using its licensed trademark for which the private company shall work with them.
As per Olson’s statement, the private company had contacted Local Coffee Spot last year in March and offered to have the graphic design team at the Space Needle assist them with developing a new logo. The lawsuit filed specifies that Local Coffee Spot didn’t respond meaningfully to the initial conversation initiated by the Space Needle.
However, McKeon, on the other hand, said that he did respond, and the designers at the Space Needle never followed through with their offer of working together to develop a new logo design. Emails shared by McKeon as evidence were last dated on 15th July 2021, in which he had replied to the designers at the Space Needle, saying, “Excellent, what are the next steps?”
According to McKeon, the next time he heard from the Space Needle was last year in November when its legal team had contacted him. At that moment, he felt the attorney gave him no good options. He mentioned that the Space Needle failed to produce a designer’s name, number, or contact information on several occasions. McKeon said that Local Coffee Spot was willing to comply; however, it is not as successful as other coffee outlets, making millions of dollars a year.
Both parties involved claim that the other ignored coming to the planned meeting held this year in April to discuss a path forward. For more visit: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com
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