It’s never a good thing when lawyers are writing letters but I hope and suspect the following matter can and will be settled over a virtual cup of coffee. It turns out there’s a Contraband Coffee Bar in San Francisco that owns the copyright for “Contraband Coffee” and one of the partners in that awesome looking operation called me yesterday. We spoke of our shared efforts to purvey great coffee and our own love of Contraband. He was extremely gracious in enlightening me to their copyright concerns.
I quickly made some changes to my site in the hope that it satisfies any trademark infringement concerns. I wish the Contraband Coffee Bar folks nothing but the best and maybe down the line we can work on something subversively good together.
To be clear, I’ve always envisioned Contraband Goods to be a storefront, branded in the spirit of the Ye Olde Shoppe vernacular and tinged with a little subversive je ne sais quoi. While we offer only coffee right now, I have visions of expanding into chocolate, other high quality confections, and unique artisanal fare under their respective brand names. Contraband Goods sells our own, freshly dubbed Black Market Coffee, not “Contraband Coffee.” If you want that, get your butt to San Francisco and into Contraband Coffee Bar. They roast their own, they’re legit third-wave, and they’re currently Yelp’s best coffee in town. Pretty impressive and worth supporting.
In the meantime, I’m going to stop doing business like an artist. Trying ideas out impulsively in the marketplace seems more and more like a quick path to trial by lawyer. Such are the litigious ways of doing business these days. Perhaps I move with too much naiveté. I wouldn’t necessarily argue with that notion. I’ve got an BFA, not an MBA. It’s a hard habit to kick but I’m learning.
No hard feelings. Stay tuned. Drink better coffee, do more good.