Starbucks Personalized Cups - To Make or Not To Make

  • Posted on: 9 May 2017
  • By: Liz

I love to craft. I have been crafting for over 30 years now. Starting as I have mentioned in prior posts, with diapers for my now 33 year old daughter. I myself do not do vinyl, it is an area that I am not all that interested in pursuing, but there are quite a few ladies and men (lets not forget the men) who are interested and are doing vinyl. With vinyl, one can make signs, tee shirts, coffee cups, wine glasses and quite a bit more on a variety of other surfaces, if you choose to sell your items, well there can be wrinkles in the process.

On Etsy, if you do not have permission to sell copyrighted items, they will be removed from your store and if you do it one too many times, they will shut your store down. My daughter's store has had two items removed. Which brings us to those Starbuck cups. As I read through crafting websites, stores, Facebook and blogs, I see quite a few people either wanting to make the cups, find the files to make the cups, where to find the cups and should I sell the cups.

A simple google search for personalized Starbuck cups brings up dozens upon dozens of picture of people making and altering this logo.

With those questions comes the definition of copyright over making or adjusting the label of a company. I am not going to even try to understand the intricacies of copyright, but I read a lovely blog by Cutting For Business that did. I have posted a link here in regards to the Starbucks cup conversation.

Not only was the copyright issue brought forth, but Trademark as well. See the definition that was searched using Google. Again, I am no expert and so I can not tell you which is which myself.

Another point I saw in the blog post was about the cups people are buying and using for these personalized cups.  They are meant to be used  about 30 times.  Which means, they are considered disposable.  If you use them more than the recommended usages will the cup fall apart, not hold liquid any longer, this I can not answer.  Just a thought as you decide to make or use for yourself and others.

Even if you make a decal, drop it into the cup and resell the cup to your customer, they will be putting a potential copyright or Trademark violation onto their personal cup.  It is in some people's mind a way around from selling an altered image, but the image will still be altered no matter how you skin that cat.

It is known that Starbucks has no issue in filing paperwork and sueing a company for infridgement of their items.  Here is an example of their franppuccino lawsuit.  Starbucks did win that case if you are unaware.

Large companies, even extremely popular book authors and musicians are very touchy over their intellectial property.  How many times have we heard of Taylor Swift going after someone for using her lyrics, or a popular child book author not wanting someone crafting their story ideas.

So that we all are aware, I am not advocating making these Starbuck cups, I myself would not, because I really believe that even a small crafter can get a Cease and Desist letter over something that the crafter never thought was copyrighted or Trademarked. 

If you are a large crafter or a small crafter, do a little homework and find out if your idea is or is not crossing a legal line that you do not want to cross.  It can be scary to get a letter in the mail saying, hey, you are not suppose to be doing this and you better stop or we'll take further action.

We are not attorney's here at Happy Clutter, but we do want to craft responsibly, so Educate yourself, not knowing the law is not a defense.  Or go talk to an attorney, you can call and ask the basic question, seek out answers, don't listen to other crafters for information, because likely, they know about as much as you do, or I do for that matter, and I know nothing.

Until the next time .... happy crafting


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