Oxfam responds to National Coffee Association and Starbucks
In response to Oxfam’s announcement that...Starbucks has opposed a plan by Ethiopia to gain more control over its coffee trade, Starbucks claimed that it has never filed an opposition to the Ethiopian government's trademark applications, nor claimed ownership to any names used to describe the origin of its coffees. Oxfam responded by saying that Starbucks did prompt the National Coffee Association (NCA), of which it is a leading member, to file an opposition to the applications, which is the reason the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gave for rejecting them. At a meeting held this past July at the Ethiopian Embassy, Embassy staff and advisers met with the NCA president to discuss a letter of protest filed against Ethiopia’s trademark applications. Ethiopian Embassy staff asked the NCA President what had prompted the NCA to file the opposition after more than year of silence on the issue. The NCA President responded that Starbucks had just brought it to the NCA's attention. It is therefore disingenuous for Starbucks to claim they were not responsible for the application being blocked.