The Seattle Space Needle has sued a local coffee chain for using its trademarked logo in coffee shop branding and merchandise.
The logo for Local Coffee Spot, which has four locations in the Seattle area, features a mug of hot coffee whose rising steam bears striking resemblance to the iconic tower’s own logo used on branded merchandise, the Seattle Times reported.
The Space Needle’s owner, a private company, says the coffee shop’s logo copies a trademarked design, and filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court. Karen Olson, head of Space Needle operations and marketing, said the legal action is unusual.
"We’ve never had to get to this point" Olson said. "I’m surprised that we’re here."
Beau McKeon, co-owner of Local Coffee Spot, says he can’t believe the venture he started as a way to employ people during the pandemic has drawn a lawsuit.
"We feel very, very victimized as the small guys," McKeon said. "This is beyond bullying."
Since trademarks are only valid if owners enforce them, the Space Needle’s marketing team constantly searches for misuse of the building’s name, image and likeness.
"We’re not asking for any monetary compensation. Just stop using our licensed trademark," Olson said. "And we’ll work with them to do so."