Starbucks find themselves in another sticky situation. Or maybe it’s gummy, waxy at the very least. A California company is suing the coffee giant, alleging that Starbucks stole their idea for coffee-flavored lip balm. And it only gets weirder from there.
As reported by Reuters, Balmuccino, an LA-based manufacturer of coffee-flavored lip balms, has filed a suit against Starbucks, claiming they stole “confidential information about plans for a coffee-flavored lip balm to create its S’Mores Frappucino lip-gloss kit.” According to the suit, Balmuccino initially met with Starbucks back in 2017 to discuss a potential partnership. That meeting, per Balmuccino, was brokered by then former CEO Howard Schultz and Mehmet Oz, the TV snake oil salesman doctor now making a comically bad bid for a US Senate seat in Pennsylvania who just so happens to be the brother-in-law of one of the higher-ups at Balmaccino.
In that meeting with Starbucks head of product development Mesh Gelman, per the suit, the lip balm company gave “prototypes of its lip balms, supplier information, research, results and other confidential details,” which a short time later Starbucks reach out to one of the suppliers to “request prototypes for its own lip balms using the same specifications Balmuccino gave Gelman.” The suit alleges that the lip balm was then released in 2019 as Starbucks’ “S’Mores Frappucino Sip Kit,” in celebration of the drink returning to the menu.
A version of the lawsuit was initially filed in California in 2019 and later dismissed due to the state court believe they lacked the proper jurisdiction. The current lawsuit has been filed with a Seattle federal court.