In 2005

In 2005, Ethiopian government filed an application in ‘United States Patent and Trademark Office’ (USPTO) to register its most famous coffee names – Sidamo, Harar, and Yirgacheffe. Though Ethiopia is a poor African country, it’s famously known as birthplace of finest and richest coffee beans. This country is also one of the major suppliers of Starbucks.Around 15 million Ethiopian struggling farmers depend on coffee for their survival. Regardless of the high prices in coffee shops, the actual producers only get a minimum price which is not even sufficient to cover the production cost. They don’t even have access to proper health care, food, and clean water. Registering these coffee names would give the Ethiopian coffee farmers a potential income of $94.22 million.
As a corporation which is committed to the welfare of its suppliers, Starbucks should have supported this initiative of Ethiopia. But Starbucks allegedly tried to hurdle the attempts of Ethiopian government registering their coffee names. Oxfam, a confederation of 20 NGOs, alleged that they’d confirmed from several sources that Starbucksunethically tried to stop the registering of coffee names by Ethiopian government using their influence and muscle. Also, head of Light Years IP and representatives from National Coffee Association (NCA) have admitted that Starbucks have prompted their opposition to this registration of coffee names.

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