Friday, April 25, 2008

Perk-Up Takes on Starbucks

Posted By on Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 7:50 AM

By NADIA PFLAUM

Dave Kemp, the co-owner of Perk-Up!, a newly opened coffee and snack shop at 11th Street and Grand, swears that he isn’t a lawsuit-happy guy. It just so happens that the forces of corporate coffee are conspiring against him, and he’s going to fight. He has espresso (“pure Tuscan joy,” reads the menu) and feisty entrepreneurial spirit on his side.

Kemp opened his second local shop downtown shop four months ago. (The first is at 11823 College Boulevard in Overland Park.) Two months ago, he poked his head into a Starbucks and was floored by a promotional flier on the wall. “Perk Up!” it read, along with a

perk_up.JPG

picture of a cup of coffee with a curlicue of steam rising from it. Kemp thought the layout of the flier looked awfully familiar — just like the artwork he’d registered and copyrighted as his snack shop’s logo. He snapped a picture with his camera phone and paid a visit to his attorney.

“We served them with a cease-and-desist order,” Kemp says of Starbucks. “Had they ceased and desisted, we wouldn’t have made a big deal about it.”

Now Kemp, through his attorney, is in settlement negotiations with Starbucks. The corporate coffee chain has put two offers on the table, and though either would let Kemp retire a rich man, they’re not up to the number that Kemp and his lawyer have in mind (which Kemp says he can’t let us reveal in print).

“Honestly, I know this sounds goofy, but our intent wasn’t to do this for the money,” Kemp says. “Our intent was to show the big boys they can’t push the little guys around all the time. But now that the money’s come along with that, I’m OK with that.”

Starbucks has until August 7 to arrive at a number Kemp likes.

If Starbucks and Kemp don’t reach an agreement, the matter will go to a federal arbitrator to decide.

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