Wasilla company fighting Starbucks over trademark
A Wasilla-based clothing company is squaring off with Starbucks in a trademark dispute.
Monica Hamilton and her daughter Sarah Hamilton own Mountains & Mermaids, where they sell the ocean-themed apparel they’ve been making for several years.
“A lot of it has got some sassy undertones which is a little bit about our business,” Sarah said. “We’re women-owned and we like to rock our day as well. We like to create apparel that mimics that.”
Sarah is also a part-time barista and was inspired to expand their brand to include coffee.
In November 2018, Mountains & Mermaids filed a trademark application for the name “Siren’s Brew.”
Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks put in an application for “Siren’s Blend” in February 2019 and was denied because it was too similar to the name requested by Mountains & Mermaids.
Starbucks filed an opposition against Mountains & Mermaids being approved for the trademark.
“There’s no brand confusion,” Monica said. “Absolutely zero brand confusion between Mountains & Mermaids and Starbucks. We are Alaska-based, our designs look nothing alike.”
In an opposition filing, Starbucks’ attorneys wrote the company has used the siren for branding for nearly 50 years.
They said there’s “an indelible link in the minds of consumers between the term siren and the sale of coffee.”
Starbucks also said there’s too much similarity between the Mountains & Mermaids red-haired siren image and the one the coffee company used on an “Anniversary Blend” coffee.
“Ariel is a red head, Sarah is a red head,” Monica said. “The mermaid was designed with Sarah in mind to begin with.”
A request for comment was made to the Starbucks corporate office, to which a Starbucks representative called with a statement from the company:
"For nearly half a century, Starbucks has invested in creating the association between a Siren and coffee. The Siren has been integral to our logo since we were established in 1971, and is the face of the Starbucks brand to the world."
Starbucks offered to help Mountains & Mermaids phase out their Siren’s Brew products and is willing to foot the bill for a new trademark application for the company to use “Mermaid’s Brew” instead.
“We worked hard for this business and we intend to protect it and intend to protect our design,” Sarah said. “We told them no, we weren't going to change our trademark.”
The Hamiltons' lawyer is working on a response to Starbucks’ opposition. The women are optimistic a decision will be made in their favor.
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