LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) — For more than four years, Mountain and Mermaids has been in a trademark dispute with Starbucks.

The owners of Mountains and Mermaids Coffee, Monica and Sarah Hamilton, started their business in 2017 in Alaska. They created a nautical brand, selling clothing, notebooks, and several blends of organic coffee in Denham Springs.

According to Sarah Hamilton, the daughter of Monica Hamilton, they ship worldwide and 70% of those shipments are Sirens Brew Coffee.

In late August, the company released a new logo called “Get off my Tail” with lettering underneath that says, “‘Save Small Businesses from Cooperation Greed.” They sold the coffee as a “Storm Morning Blend.” This was done in response to Starbucks taking legal action against them.

According to Sarah Hamilton, the siren logo is spiritual and reminds her and her family of the time when they lived in Alaska. Other local small businesses reached out to the owners about their thoughts on the trademark trial.

“Another small business in Alaska had commented and said it’s hard to swim when somebody’s stepping on your tail,” says Sarah Hamilton.

According to a Starbucks Spokesperson, The corporation filed an administrative proceeding before the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, to oppose Mountains and Mermaids’ trademark of Siren Brew. 

Starbucks Statement regarding Trademark Trail:

Starbucks respects the rights of other intellectual property holders and will take appropriate action when necessary to protect its own intellectual property rights. We are pleased with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s decision finding that SIREN’S BREW is confusingly similar to Starbucks rights in SIREN for coffee. Siren’s Blend is a coffee blend named after the Siren that symbolizes Starbucks.  This coffee was inspired – and created – by trailblazing women of the coffee industry and honors the innovations of such women in coffee, from farmer to roaster to barista.

The trial has been going on for four years for the family, paying thousands of dollars towards legal fees. After the first trademark trial was filed, Monica Hamilton says the corporation wanted the company to change its slogan.

“Now they’ve gone after our words,” says Modica Hamilton, “A siren needs her morning coffee before a day of wrecking ships and drowning men” and they would like those words to go away because they have siren and coffee in them,” Hamilton says.

The family joined their clothing and coffee logos together in the same litigation case, they won the clothing battle but lost the coffee.

“It’s been scary the whole time,” says Sarah Hamilton. “It’s been really difficult for us the whole time and we said before, a lot of small businesses didn’t make it through COVID and we made it by the skin of our teeth. And here we are having to continue to battle,” Hamilton says.

Both the daughter-mother duo agree they can’t leave all this behind and will do whatever it takes to support their local business. 

“To have the support and the community behind us because we are a small business and we know that supporting small businesses isn’t always convenient, but it means a lot,” says Sarah Hamilton.

The family kept quiet about the lawsuit due to the unknown, but now says this battle could last another four years.