Starbucks Monopoly Gets Sued

You can’t keep on suing the little guy before he sues back: Starbucks has been nailed with a huge class-action anti-monopoly suit by small, independent coffee shop Belvi Coffee.

The suit claims that Starbucks actually controls a whopping 73% of the American coffeeshop market. They then qualify that with “at least.” I find that pretty damn hard to swallow, but Starbucks’ retort is so oddly semantic that it lends the claim veracity: they claim they only have 8% market share in all coffee consumed in the States. See what they did there?

The suit claims that Starbucks leases prime commercial real estate at above market prices in order to get the exclusive right to sell espresso drinks or specialty coffee in those locations. It also claims that, when Starbucks opened in Belvi’s area, Starbuck employees loitered outside the building to hand out free Starbucks drinks to passers-by.

Starbucks has left a bad taste in our mouth ever since they tried to put DoubleShot Coffee out of business for copyright infringement. A big thumbs-up for this lawsuit.

Starbucks sued for squashing competitors [Reuters]