The new Dumb Starbucks coffee shop that opened its doors Friday in L.A. has now drawn the attention of the real Starbucks restaurant chain. Dumb Starbucks is trying to call itself a work of art parody in using very similar colors and signs in its store.
Starbucks released a statement Monday that it is "aware of the store." Company spokeswoman Laurel Harper said about Dumb Starbucks to Fox News on Monday, Feb. 10, that , "It is not affiliated with Starbucks."
The new coffee shop opened for the weekend in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles with nearly identical signage, menus and restaurant novelties.
The only difference between the new store and a real store affiliated with the Seattle based chain is that the word "Dumb" was placed in front of the Starbucks name. The Wall Street Journal reports that for the opening weekend, everything was free.
That likely accounts for the long line of customers that extended out the door for about two blocks on Saturday, as word about the odd new business spread like wildfire on social media sites.
The new shop is categorizing itself as a work of parody art. Signage in the store claims in the eyes of the law, their "coffee shop" is actually an art gallery and the "coffee" you're purchasing is actually the art.
But regardless of that caveat, Starbucks will likely have no choice but to sue. Because the company's name is a protected trademark, under trademark law, if the company doesn't take legal action to protect it, its protected status could be in jeopardy.
"We are evaluating next steps, and while we appreciate the humor, they cannot use our name, which is a protected trademark," Harper said.
The bizarre opening has many in the southern California neighborhood, and around the country, wondering who's behind the shop, and why anyone would bother to open a store that likely won't survive as is.
Some are speculating that it could be the work of a competitor staging a hoax or publicity stunt. It could be an entrepreneur's idea of how to get noticed fast, before they have to change their name.
Or, maybe it really is an some sort of installment art piece. The name Bansky has been thrown around.
Everyone agrees the place in its current configuration will not likely be around long.