Is Starbucks Blocking Ethiopia's Bid to Trademark Coffee?

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Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, applied to trademark three of its most famous varieties.  After a protest by the National Coffee Association, the US Trademark and Patent Office denied the request. Starbucks, an Association member, advertises its good relationship with suppliers. With estimated revenues of $80 billion a year, coffee is the world's most valuable trading commodity after oil, according to Oxfam, which says that multinational companies are ripping off farmers in poor countries. The British charity claims Starbucks was behind the trademark denial.




Warren Olney