There is no denying that Dunkin’ Donuts is great coffee! In fact, I would even go as far as to say that they taste better than Starbucks! However, nothing will ever beat out the local coffee shops. The coffee, fresh pastries, and aesthetic environment creates an addict out of the best of us.
Dunkin’ Donuts must have realized this, and felt the heat when a local coffee shop in Massachusetts hand wrote a slogan in their window that read, “North Now Runs on Mike’s.” The Global coffeehouse giant then sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mike’s coffee shop owner, Steve Copoulos.
He told Fox Business Insider, “[They said] it creates a likelihood of confusion among customers by implying you’re an approved vendor of ours.”
Copoulos’ father opened the original Mike’s Coffee shop about forty years ago and was approached by Dunkin’ Donuts a couple years later with an offer to purchase the building, Copoulos said.
According to Copoulos, his father wouldn’t sell the building, but ended up leasing it to the chain for years before Dunkin’ Donuts recently left the location. Mr. Copoulos reopened the store under its original name about one month ago and many of the store’s original, and “loyal,” customers returned, he said.
“A customer said ‘now that you’re back we’re running on Mike’s,’” Copoulos said, of where the slogan came from.
What may have been intended as a joke was not taken lightly by everyone. Dunkin’ Donuts sent Copoulos a letter claiming copyright infringement that was dated May 19.
“In support of our legal rights under trademark law and in support of our franchisees, Dunkin’ Donuts sent a cease and desist letter to Mike’s Coffee in North Attleboro, Mass. for the unauthorized display of a variation of our ‘America Runs on Dunkin’ mark,” Dunkin’ Donuts wrote in a statement to FOX Business.
The sign in question was simply washable paint on the front window, but it has been removed. Copoulos said, “As soon as we got the letter we took it down,” he continued, “I was just appalled that they would think so little of their customer base to think their customers would get confused.”
Could the slogan have come across as confusing? Or was DD just being a little petty?