'Starbung' coffee vendor settles trademark dispute out of court
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'Starbung' coffee vendor settles trademark dispute out of court

A street stall coffee vendor in Bangkok has dropped his "Starbung Coffee" signboard after Starbucks took him to court for trademark infringement, the defendant said on Thursday.

"We met halfway in an out-of-court settlement," said Damrong Maslee, a Bangkok street coffee vendor whose legal tussle with the United States multinational has brought him social media fame in Thailand.

Last month, a Thai law firm filed a complaint on behalf of Starbucks Coffee Company against Damrong, 44, for not complying with an injunction issued in 2012 to remove the "Starbung Coffee" logo from his sidewalk stall in the Thai capital.

The international coffee giant demanded compensation of 300,000 baht (US$9,700s), plus 30,000 baht a month in legal fees.

Damrong Maslee poses in front of his sidewalk coffee shop on Phra Athit Road in Bangkok's Phra Nakhon district. (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)

"They agreed to drop the demand for compensation, and I agreed to stop using a circular sign for my coffee shop logo," Damrong told dpa.

He has also changed the name of his sidewalk coffee shop to "Bung's Tears," showing a man in a Muslim cap crying.

"Bung" means brother in Malay.

Damrong, a Muslim from the southern province of Krabi, moved to Bangkok five years ago to open a coffee stall on Phra Athit Road in Phra Nakhon district.

He advertised it with a green-and-white Starbucks-like round sign bearing the name "Starbung Coffee," and depicting a Muslim man at its centre with crescent moons on the side.

According to Damrong, the "Starbung Coffee" logo was inspired by Islam, featuring an old Muslim man at the centre. The Starbucks emblem features a mermaid.

His legal case with Starbucks brought him local fame, which has apparently been good for business.

Bung's Tears logo (Photo taken from Facebook)

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