Dunkin' Donuts Sends Cease-and-Desist Letter to Mass. Coffee Shop

The corporate giant claims the coffee shop's window message infringed on its trademark

A Massachusetts coffee shop owner says he received a cease-and-desist letter from Dunkin' Donuts claiming trademark infringement for riffing on the chain's catchphrase.

Steve Copoulos said he added window art reading "North now runs on Mike's" on his Mike's Coffee shop in North Attleborough.

While he expected a few laughs from customers, Copoulos says he was surprised to find the letter from the Canton, Massachusetts-based coffee shop chain claiming he was infringing on their "America Runs on Dunkin'" slogan and Copoulos' variation implied an affiliation.

"No way did I want to have any association with Dunkin Donuts at all," Copoulous explained.

Copoulos says he wants to be the "exact opposite" of a corporate coffee chain and has since erased the sign.

The shop opened about month ago but the business has been around for decades, once owned by his father, then Dunkin Donuts actually rented the property.

"I get that they have their trademark and they do what they want, but who's gonna know that says that except people who drive by," asked one customer.

Dunkin' Donuts, in a statement, said it wrote the letter "in support of our legal rights under trademark law and in support of our franchisees."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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