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American coffee company and coffeehouse chain Starbucks filed a complaint against a Lahore-based café for using its official logo. The complaint was filed with The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) against the café owned by Options International Limited referred as “Options” for violating Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010 and fraudulently using the official logo of Starbucks. CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity.
In the formal complaint sent to CCP, Starbucks stated that “Options" was engaged in the marketing, advertising, selling of “Starbuck coffee” using the ‘Starbucks’ marks on its signboards, including the packaging material, menus, flyers and other promotional material without any authorization. According to Starbucks, this practice by the café was affecting their reputation and also deceiving the customers. On 17 August 2018, CCP passed an interim order which demanded the Options International to stop using the Starbucks logo, until a conclusion is drawn.
In the final order, the CCP noted that even though Options stopped using the infringing logo and filed commitment to comply with its directions, the unauthorized use of the Starbucks logo was going on for a long period of time and caused damage to the Starbucks coffee chain. As a result, CCP imposed a penalty of 5 million in Pakistan rupee on the company.
CCP also demanded Options to inform the general public about their unfair use of the Starbucks logo, and the illegal infringement they have been committing. Options had to advertise their fraudulent activity through newspaper articles for three consecutive days.