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Starbucks reaches truce with Ethiopia over coffee licensing

Starbucks and the Ethiopian government said Wednesday they will work together to promote three of the African nation’s prized specialty coffees under a deal that supports the country’s bid to win trademarks it believes will benefit farmers. The world’s largest coffeehouse chain and Ethiopia’s intellectual property office said their licensing, distribution and marketing agreement acknowledges the country’s ownership of three coffee names – Yirgacheffe, Harar and Sidamo – regardless of whether they are trademarked. The deal will not reap Ethiopia any royalty payments, officials said. Last year, Starbucks refused Ethiopia‘s request that the company sign a voluntary licensing agreement saying the country owns rights to those coffee names even in countries where they are not trademarked. Instead, Starbucks said it wanted to help Ethiopia establish geographic certification for the coffee bean names, similar to the designations assigned to Washington apples or Hawaii‘s Kona coffee.


News selected by Covalence | Country: Ethiopia | Company: Starbucks | Source: Associated Press

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