Donut chain Dunkin’ Donuts is threatening a small town Massachusetts coffee shop with a trademark lawsuit after they used the slogan ‘North now runs on Mike’s’.
Steve Copoulos owns and runs Mike’s Coffee in North Attleboro, Massachusetts. Last month, he was shocked to receive a cease and desist letter from Dunkin’ Donuts. ‘Plainville and North now runs on Mike’s,’ his window read, with a wink to Dunkin’ Donuts’ slogan ‘America runs on Dunkin’.’ Copoulos expected a few laughs from his loyal customers, but not a law suit.
“Displaying ‘Plainville & North now runs on Mike’s’ creates a likelihood of confusion among consumers by implying that you are an approved vendor of ours”, Dunkin’ Donuts states. “Your actions are clearly designed to trade on the goodwill and reputation associated with the “America Runs on Dunkin'” trademark and constitutes both trademark infringement and trademark dilution.”
Copoulos denies the claim with common sense: “I want to be the exact opposite: A friendly and happy place where you can talk to the owner.”
He then accused the donut giant of having an ulterior motive. Copoulos explained how his father decided to lease the land to Dunkin’ when he decided to shut up shop 30 years ago, but never had an intention of selling it to the chain. Dunkin’ Donuts had leased the space where Mike’s Coffee is from Copoulos for many years, however they recently opened a store nearby after failed attempts to purchase the land.
It remains to be seen if this law suit is going to be a slam dunk, or if David will beat Goliath this time.