U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Kent issued his decision over the weekend and filed his response with the court Monday, denying all of the requests by the global coffee corporation.
Starbucks delivered a massive, 7-pound volume of legal paperwork to the judge on Dec. 23, citing myriad examples from other well-known trademark cases, and asking him to declare a partial summary judgment or summary adjudication.
The case pits the Seattle-based company against Rex Bell, owner of the Old Quarter Acoustic Café. Bell sells Star Bock Beer from a draught keg at his Galveston bar, a product that Starbucks claims infringes on its well-known worldwide brand.
Bell received approval from the federal trademark office for his beer, but Starbucks opposed the ruling, saying it had subsequently filed its own trademark request regarding its plan to sell coffee-flavored liqueur. Bell’s lawyer countered that move in November 2004 by formally opposing Starbucks’ own distilled spirits trademark.
Kent’s ruling puts the onus on Starbucks to clearly prove in court that Bell’s beer infringes on their trademark.
“Defendants (Starbucks) have not produced evidence of actual economic harm,” Kent wrote in his decision. “The issues of trademark dilution and trademark infringement present nuances of fact best left for trial. Because genuine issues of material fact remain as to each claim, summary judgment is not appropriate.”