Coffee versus Credit Ratings

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We’ve got friends who argue that intellectual property protection in the US has gotten way out control—extended patents, lengthy copyrights, litigation without end. Most days we think the investment in innovation we get as a trade-off for these things make it worth it. Today isn’t one of those days.

Today's big financial news comes straight from the Lone Star State, where financial powerhouse McGraw-Hill (NYSE: MHP - News) has sicced its legal eagles on ... an upstart coffeehouse, of all things. Last week, McGraw-Hill subsidiary Standard & Poor's (S&P) filed a lawsuit in federal court against "Standard & Pours Coffee & Stocks," a Dallas purveyor of java, free copies of The Wall Street Journal, and live CNBC video.
In the suit, S&P alleges that Standard & Pours appropriated for itself a name just a bit too close to S&P's own, causing customers to mistake the Texas coffeehouse for a long-lost subsidiary of the real S&P (shades of the 1998 case of Federal Express (NYSE: FDX - News) v. Federal Espresso). For infringing on its trademark, S&P demands the maximum compensation permitted by the U.S. Trademark Act: three times Standard & Pours' profits, and three times any revenue S&P lost when customers sauntered into Standard & Pours, and accidentally bought a cup of coffee when what they really wanted was a credit report. (Doh!)


Tempest in a Coffee Pot
[Motley Fool]

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