Illu Import Export

Starbucks will exit Russia after
15 years, closing 130 licensed

Starbucks has announced plans to eliminate its business and brand from the Russian
market as the country’s war in Ukraine carries on.

The move affects the approximately 130 Starbucks locations in Russia, which are owned
and operated by an unnamed licensed partner.

“We will continue to support the nearly 2,000 green apron partners in Russia, including
pay for six months and assistance for partners to transition to new opportunities outside
of Starbucks,” the company said in an announcement of the decision on Monday.

Citing the unfolding of “tragic events,” the company initially suspended all business
activities and shipments to Russia on March 8.

Beyond the ethical implications of Starbucks’ departure from Russia, the move also
follows a series of trademark quarrels in the country, including what amounts to Russia’s
recent legalization of trademark infringement affecting businesses from countries that
are deemed “unfriendly.”

Starbucks’ intellectual property saga in Russia far predates the war in Ukraine. The
opening of the company’s first-ever Russian store in 2007, inside a mall outside of
Moscow, followed a years-long game of trademark chicken with a Russian lawyer and
car alarm dealer named Sergei Zuykov.

Starbucks first registered its trademark in Russia in 1997, just prior to the Russian
economic crisis in 1998. In 2002, Zuykov reportedly filed a request to end Starbucks’
trademark due to the fact that it had not been used for commerce over a three-year

Zuykov ultimately registered the Starbucks name on behalf of a Russian company he
represented, claiming he didn’t intend to capitalise on Starbucks’ success, but merely
liked the name. Following a tactic that led to IP-related payouts from other international
companies seeking to do business in Russia, Zuykov asked the company for $600,000
to reclaim the name in Russia.

The company never paid the Russian trademark squatter, and eventually Russian court
authorities in 2005 re-granted Starbucks the right to use its name and marks. Today,
Starbucks and fellow United States-based chain giant McDonald’s are facing a new
wave of trademark copycats in Russia.There are currently approximately 32,800 Starbucks locations in 80 countries worldwide