Shanghaiist has never heard of Xingbake (星吧克), the cafe on Nanjing Xi Lu that has a remarkably similar name and logo to that of Starbucks. Friends have told us that it’s near Henan Lu. However, chances are that we will no longer go there for a cup of joe and a good laugh because they just got their asses sued by Starbucks and lost to the tune of a half million RMB. Starbucks argued that their Chinese name is as legally protected as is their original, English name. And that goes for the green mermaid logo too. We love this quote from one of the reports:
Xingbake’s general manager told the China Daily newspaper in 2003 that it was “just a coincidence” that its name and green-and-white circular logo so closely matched that of the Seattle-based chain. “I hadn’t heard of Starbucks at that time, so how could I imitate its brand or logo?” the manager, identified only as Mr Mao, was quoted as saying then.
Shanghaiist hopes that one of our readers will snap a picture (or already has one) so that we at least have something to remember this place by. These guys should have known better than to f*ck wid tha ‘Bucks: Starbucks is dead serious about protecting its logo. A San Francisco cartoonist’s satirization of the logo (see above link and picture) landed him in deep doo-doo with Starbucks back in 2000.