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Starbucks costing coffee farmers millions, Oxfam claims

Author: Derek Cheng, New Zealand Herald, Published on: 27 October 2006

Global coffee giant Starbucks is denying Ethiopian coffee-farmers of [NZ]$132 million [US$88 million] a year by refusing them ownership of their coffee brands, international agency Oxfam says. The Ethiopian government filed applications to trademark its famous coffee names Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe in the US, Canada, Japan and European Union countries. But while coffee bodies in the other countries have given Ethiopia ownership of its brands, it is claimed Starbucks opposed it through the US National Coffee Association, of which it is a leading member. The US Patent and Trademark Office subsequently denied the trademark applications... Starbucks...said in a statement it had offered to help the Ethiopian Government in developing a certification program. Starbucks had never filed an opposition to the trademark application, the statement said.

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