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Starbucks and Ethiopia Dispute Coffee Trademark Issues

By:   •  July 6, 2019  •  Course Note  •  307 Words (2 Pages)  •  376 Views

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Starbucks and Ethiopia Dispute Coffee Trademark Issues

The giant coffee chain Starbucks has disputed with Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest countries, about the right to use certain names in coffee. Ethiopia is regarded by Starbucks and others as the birthplace of coffee. Of the country’s limited tradable goods, coffee alone accounts for around 60% of Ethiopia’s total export earnings. In fact, coffee is closely related to Ethiopia's culture and society, and an estimated 15 million people participate directly or indirectly in the Ethiopian coffee industry. The traditional coffee of this African country enjoys a high reputation and its retail price on the international market is very high. However, only 5% to 10% of the retail price can actually be traced back to Ethiopia; most of the profits are shared by distributors and intermediaries in the marketing department. In rich countries, a cup of cappuccino can be sold for $4 to $5, but many coffee growers in Ethiopia and other developing countries earn less than $1 a day. In some cases, farmers have abandoned coffee production due to low returns and are engaged in growing more profitable anesthetic plants.

To narrow the gap between retail prices and producer returns, the Ethiopian government has been trying to use a range of intellectual property (IPR) to differentiate their coffee in the market and get higher returns. In 2004, the government launched the Ethiopian Coffee Trademark and Licensing Initiative (the initiative) to provide a practical solution to overcome the coffee farmers' coffee in a bag of coffee beans and the retailer's charge when selling coffee. Long-term gap. It is a retail store in developed countries. The initiative is organized and operated by the Ethiopian Fine Coffee Stakeholders Committee (Stakeholders Committee), which consists of a consortium of cooperatives, private exporters and the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) and other relevant government agencies.

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