DoubleShot to Starbucks: “Sit and Spin.”

Good news! Our favorite grumbly cup-of-joe-slinging coffee shop owner has delicately lifted his forearm, extended his middle finger in the direction of the Starbucks’ corporation’s threatening sphincter and politely suggested sitting and spinning on the proffered digit.

We refer, of course, to DoubleShot Coffee Shop owner Brian Franklin from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who was slapped with a cease-and-desist because Starbucks claimed it owned the term “doubleshot.” At first, Brian reacted the only way he knew how — by tearing off his clothes, smearing his body with bull’s blood and lifting his head to the sky to release a primal, obscenity-laced scream of defiance. Then, he meekly considered capitulation.

But now the Brian we all know and love is back. With the help of his lawyer, Franklin composed a lovingly crafted “go fuck yourselves” email to Starbucks and it’s now available as a Flickr photoset. There’s a great summary of why Starbucks’ claim on the word doubleshot is nonsense, a comparison between DoubleShot Coffee’s business strategy and Starbucks’ and this brilliant denouement:

    If your letter was, as we suspect, a ruse in an attempt to gain leverage over DoubleShot Coffee Company so that Starbucks could cheaply purchase or demand an assignment of its website, pleased be adviced that DoubleShot Coffee Company will entertain an offer to purchase the www.doubleshotcoffee.com domain name, but any offer should be for a purchase price of not less than $1,000,000.

DoubleShot’s Response To Starbucks [Flickr]
Previously: DoubleShot vs. Starbucks on Consumerist

Comments

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  1. Harlan says:

    Oh, that’s awesome. Getting to write letters like that must be one of the few perks of being a lawyer…

  2. strunkl says:

    Oops. If Starbucks really wants to allege that Franklin is cybersquatting a domain name, his offer to profit from the sale of the name to its “rightful” owner could be used against him at a WIPO arbitration.

    I know it sounds crazy, but back in the heyday of cybersquatting, trademark holders quickly figured out that they could send a letter to a squatter in hopes of getting a response just like this. They would then take the letter to the arbiter as proof that the domain was not being lawfully used, but simply being held to extort sums from the trademark holder.

    This does not mean that Franklin doesn’t deserve to keep the domain. His continuous use of the domain for his own business and (I assume) attempts to avoid confusion with Starbucks, combined with the fact that the term at issue is (at least arguably) a common term to the industry, all suggest that he is making legitimate use of the domain name. But the million dollar demand, however sarcastic, could hurt him.

    And yes, explaining to big corporations how you’ll eat their lunch if they try a lawsuit is pretty fun, and nearly worth the cost of law school.

  3. Kos says:

    What about all the songs with Double Shot? Do a quick search in allmusic.com. I can tell you that the Swinging Medallions “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)” goes all the way back to 1966 when I wasn’t even a twinkle in my Dad’s eye. I hope Brian’s lawyer references this.

    Kos

    Double Shot 15
    Double Shot of Love 1
    Double Shots 4
    Double Shot of My Love 1
    Double Shot of Tequila 1
    Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love) 48
    Double Shot (Of My Baby’s…) 1
    Double Shot Ft Scrybe 1
    Double Shot O’ Whiskey 1
    Double Shot of Your Love

  4. AppTechie says:

    That letter is the best thing I have seen in a while. Sending an official F! U! is as satisfying as it sounds. As for the cybersquatting comment, you have to have a trademark or copyright on the name in every state prior to being able to claim such a thing. Not to mention that Brian most likely has records going back to the initial purchase of the name and they most likely pre-date the release of the Starbucks DoubleShot can of crap. That alone would prove that he is, in fact, NOT cybersquatting and that he has every right to keep the domain and profit from it!

  5. CatMoran says:

    Oh dear, he shouldn’t have named a price for his website. Not because it’s tacky (it isn’t) or potentially an admission of cybersquatting (how can you cybersquat on your own business name?)

    No, he shouldn’t have done it because now Starbucks knows his minimum price. If he’d played coy he might have gotten much more for it.

    Otherwise, the letter is a thing of beauty.

  6. Transuranic says:

    Not worried about the details of the lamely-alleged squatting or what DoubleShot owner could get for the domain. The point is that he sent SBUX a big ol’ Charles U. Farley, which is just what they deserve for trying to intimidate him.

  7. El Mystico says:

    I would think Starbucks ultimately has much less to lose by going ahead with a lawsuit, despite what they may think. Profits from a few million doubleshots should pay for their legal costs. But I hope Brian sees it through. If nothing else, a victory in court would be a much-needed reminder to the bullies in big-corporate America that just because you have a lot of money doesn’t mean you can threaten the little guy anytime you feel like you need to make your profits look better to the stockholders. And Starbucks may not realize the growing power of sites like this one in getting the word out about such bullying. They may reap a public relations disaster they never thought could happen.

  8. Bubba Barney says:

    Swinging Medallions “Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love)” – Love that song!

  9. Ben Popken says:

    Bruce writes:

    “From the letter:

    “If your letter was, as we suspect, a ruse in an attempt to gain leverage over DoubleShot Coffee Company so that Starbucks could cheaply purchase or demand an assignment of its website, pleased be adviced that DoubleShot Coffee Company will entertain an offer to purchase the http://www.doubleshotcoffee.com domain name, but any offer should be for a purchase price of not less than $1,000,000.”

    Ooh, I wouldn’t have said that, even though it’s funny. Under U.S. domain name law (the “Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act”), any offer to sell a domain name can be used as evidence of “bad faith intent to profit” from the domain name. It would have been better just to say it’s not for sale.”

  10. Mr. Moto says:

    I like footnote 2 which states that seems to threaten a petition to revoke the copyright on the Starbucks Doubleshot.