October 31, 2016

Hitman Glass Hit With Default Judgment

Hitman Glass is in hot water with Starbucks over use of a nearly identical version of Starbucks' famous logos on a line of glass bongs, t-shirts, and pins. Things really heated up for Hitman Glass when Starbucks was granted a default judgment against the company. Starbucks filed its complaint last June, alleging trademark infringement and false designation of origin, but received no answer.


Starbucks filed a motion for default judgment and sought a permanent injunction for this blazing infringement, as well as compensatory damages, actual relief, and attorneys' fees. Surprisingly, products bearing the infringing marks (likely not the t-shirts and pins) sold for up to $8,000.

The court found the damages sought by Starbucks to be reasonable and granted Starbucks $410,580 in damages and attorneys' fees.

Since Hitman Glass failed to even respond to the complaint, it's likely this case is cooked. However, it is likely that the defendants' products were intended to be a parody. Regardless, owners of famous marks feel obligated to protect even parody versions of their marks.

Starbucks is no stranger to parody cases. In 2001, Starbucks brought an action for dilution by

Starbucks Charbucks
blurring against Wolfe's Borough Coffee, Inc., to enjoin use of the marks MISTER CHARBUCKS, MR. CHARBUCKS, and CHARBUCKS BLEND. Ultimately, the Court of Appeals found these marks to fall under parody protection. Had Hitman Glass defended itself, it might have followed the line of reasoning that Wolfe's did. However, the result might have been different.