By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan’s competition watchdog, CCP has directed a Lahore-based café, Options International (SMC-Pvt.) Limited, to immediately stop using “STARBUCKS” logo in the advertising material for its coffee products.
STARBUCKS, an international chain of coffeehouses registered in the State of Washington, filed a formal complaint with the CCP that Options Coffee was fraudulently using its official trademark, “STARBUCKS Coffee,” harming its business interests and deceiving consumers simultaneously.
STARBUCKS clarified that it had neither opened any franchise in Pakistan nor allowed any party to do so on its behalf. The Commission conducted an enquiry and issued show cause notice to Options Internationals in May 2018.
STARBUCKS filed an application seeking an Interim order in the case to prevent further damage to its business and goodwill until the Commission concludes its proceedings.
The interim order restrains Options from marketing, producing, and supplying coffee and other related products bearing the STARBUCKS trademark and logo anywhere, including on its website and Facebook page, without the authorisation and approval of the complainant until the conclusion of the proceedings and issuance of the final order.
The Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) has directed Options to submit a compliance report with the Commission within seven days, emphasising that violation of the interim order would render Options International Ltd liable to a fine of PKR 10 million.
CCP is mandated under the Competition Act to ensure free competition in all spheres of commercial and economic activity, to enhance economic efficiency and to protect consumers from anti-competitive practices including deceptive marketing practices.