The private company that owns the Seattle Space Needle is suing a local coffee chain for using its trademarked logo, according to The Seattle Times.
Local Coffee Spot, which has four locations in the area, is accused of using the tower's logo in its own branding and merchandise. The chain's logo shows a coffee mug with steam rising from the top and resembling the Space Needle's iconic logo. Reporters learned the company sued Local Coffee Spot last month in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Karen Olson, who leads the Space Needle's operations and marketing departments, told the Times this is unprecedented for the tower's owners. This is the first time the Space Needle has sued anyone for trademark infringement.
“We’ve never had to get to this point,” she told the Times. “I’m surprised that we’re here.”
Beau McKeon, co-owner of Local Coffee Spot, has called the legal action against his business "bullying." He claims he's been in contact with Space Needle's communications team to develop a new logo but hasn't heard back since July 2021. The next time the company reached out to him, it was their legal team.
“We feel very, very victimized as the small guys,” McKeon says. “This is beyond bullying.”
Olson confirms the Space Needle originally reached out to Local Coffee Spot in March 2021 to discuss ways to remedy the infringing logo. She claims McKeon didn't "meaningfully respond" to their initial communication. A meeting between the two parties was set up to discuss the issue, but both sides allege the other didn't show up for the arrangement.
"We’re not asking for any monetary compensation, we’re not asking for anything egregious," Olson explains. "Just stop using our licensed trademark."
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