Like many businesses, Starbucks closed its outlets in Russia. Now, a new chain owned by Russian rapper Timati and restaurateur Anton Pinsky is taking over the outlets. It has appointed new suppliers but much seems familiar. The new chain has dropped the "bucks" from the name. It has also adjusted the logo to show a woman wearing traditional Russian headgear. Pinsky said, "If you compare, then apart from the circle, you won't find anything in common". But to the average person, there is more than a passing resemblance. 

We'll assume Starbucks has trade mark registrations for the name and logo in Russia and that the test is the sameAs such, it is possible Stars is infringing Starbucks' registrations as the name and logo are similar.

But Starbucks has two problems. First, it would have to show a "likelihood of confusion on the part of the public, which includes the likelihood of association with its trade mark"Presumably, the average coffee drinker in Russia knows that overseas businesses have deserted their country and that they're not coming back soonThus, they are unlikely to be confused about any connection between the two businesses. Second, any court action would be futile (if not impossible) with the sanctions in place.

So, not good news for Starbucks or other international businesses. This seems to be a backwards step.

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