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Starbucks Takes On Starbarks Doggie Daycare

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Coffee giant says an Algonquin doggie daycare is using a name and logo which infringes on their copyright. Christian Farr reports. (Published Tuesday, Oct 9, 2012)

    What's in a name? Trouble for a doggie daycare in northwest suburban Algonquin.

    Andrea McCarthy-Grzybek opened her cage-free boarding facility in March on North Main Street under the name Starbarks Dog Daycare, a catchy play on words with a green-and-white sign to match.

    According to the daycare's website, McCarthy-Grzybek's mission is to provide an open environment for dogs to get exercise and socialization. What she got in return was a cease-and-desist letter from coffee chain Starbucks demanding Starbarks change the name and stop using the logo.

    "As disappointed as we are of their demands, it will not affect the day to day activities at Starbarks Dog Inc.," McCarthy-Grzybek wrote to her customers on Facebook. "We remain the same caring and loving facility for your dogs."

    Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson told the Chicago Sun-Times the company wants to reach a resolution out of court but said the chain has "legal obligation to protect our intellectual property."

    Hutson, who said Starbucks routinely checks for naming conflicts, said the company hasn't taken legal action against the daycare. McCarthy-Grzybek noted the same, pointing out that other companies, including one in Tennessee and another in British Columbia, have used the name without ever hearing from the coffee giant.

    "I felt confident that if that name was used that many years for so many people that it was OK to use," said her husband, Al Gryzybek.

    The Algonquin couple said they've offered to change the colors of their logo from green to yellow and the stars to paw prints, but Starbucks won't budge.

    What's McCarthy-Grzybek's next step? She's asking for customer support on Facebook but told the Daily Herald she realizes who she's dealing with.

    Though she doesn't want to change the name, McCarthy-Grzybek said she can't afford the potential legal bill and said in the end she wants a name that conveys the same mission as before.

    Her customers are sticking by her. Multiple comments on Facebook voiced support for the owner and her shop.

    "Confusing? How many people have come in and ordered a cup of coffee so far?!!" one woman wrote.

    "This business is near our home. Seems pretty petty for Starbuck's to make it such a big issue. Support the little guy!" another woman wrote.