By Chelsea Daniels
Hot Diggity Dog! The District Court of the Central District of California has ruled against a small business, Hitman Glass, in a trademark infringement case. The plaintiff, Starbucks Coffee Corporation, argued that the marijuana paraphernalia producer’s “Dabuccino” and logo was “virtually identical” to Starbucks’ own siren logo and trademarked names. This ruling comes almost a decade after the Fourth Circuit ruled that Haute Diggity Dog, LLC did not infringe on Louise Vuitton’s trademark by a parodied version of the luxury good’s name on its products. Looking at the images of the Hitman Glass’ “Dabuccino” product, it is easy to see the similarities between it and Starbucks’ own products. However, the same similarities can arguably be seen between Haute Diggity Dog’s products and Louis Vuitton’s mark.
What accounts for the significantly different ruling in the two cases? Is it perhaps the difference in geographical locations and associated opinions in the regions? Louis Vuitton Malletier S.A. v. Haute Diggity Dog, LLC came from Virginia to the Fourth Circuit while Starbucks Corporation v. Hitman Glass was adjudicated in perhaps the leading court in intellectual property cases. The difference in expertise is possibly accountable. Or perhaps the difference in goods makes a difference; while Haute Diggity Dog produced dog products, Hitman Glass produced marijuana paraphernalia. Although marijuana is slowly gaining legal acceptance in states across the country, it is still illicit on the federal level. Using a well-known mark in relation to an “illicit” good could be tarnishing to a corporation’s reputation. While some do not find this ruling surprising, this HUSL-er is looking forward to seeing if this is the end of Hitman Glass’ “Dabuccino” or if an appeal is in the works.
 Jack Wheat, “Starbucks triumphs in ‘Dabuccino’ trademark battle,” Oct. 25, 2016 http://www.worldipreview.com/news/starbucks-triumphs-in-dabuccino-trademark-battle-12452.
 Daniel Cislo, Esq. and Michael H. Anderson, Ph.D., “The California Central District Court: the New Hot Spot for International Intellectual Property Disputes,” January 20, 2015, http://htlj.org/2015/01/644/.