The official logo of the premier international coffee chain is displayed on everything, including the outdoor signboard and the napkins.
However, appearances can be deceiving because the “Starbucks” in the Iraqi capital is not authorized.
The three cafés in the city are stocked with genuine Starbucks products imported from nearby nations, but they are all open illegally.
Starbucks sued to stop the trademark infringement, but the case was dropped after the owner allegedly threatened the lawyers the coffee shop hired.
Be careful, he warned them, boasting about his connections to political leaders and militias, according to U.S. officials and legal sources in Iraq.
Amin Makhsusi, the owner of the bogus branches, declared in a rare interview in September, “I am a businessman. He denied threatening anyone. “I wanted to open a Starbucks in Iraq,” the speaker said.
In October, he stated he sold the firm; the shops continued to run after his requests for a license from Starbucks’ official agent in the Middle East were denied. “I decided to do it anyhow and take the consequences,” he said.
In response to a request for comment from The Associated Press on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Starbucks said that the company is “considering future measures.”
“To maintain exclusive intellectual property rights, we must safeguard it from infringement.”
The Starbucks fiasco is only one illustration of what American officials and businesses see as a developing issue.
Iraq has become a focal point for trademark infringement and piracy in many industries- from retail to broadcasting to pharmaceuticals.
They assert that regulations are inadequate and that those who violate intellectual property can continue their operations in large part because they have the support of influential organizations.
The infringement impacts them, and U.S. officials looking into their cases claim that counterfeiting is endangering well-known trademarks, causing businesses to lose billions in income, and even putting lives in danger.
The Qatari broadcaster beIN calculated that it had lost $1.2 billion in the region to piracy and claimed that more than a third of all beIN channel internet piracy was committed by organizations based in northern Iraq.
This year, a public submission to the United States included the complaint.
Special 301 Report makes a general list of nations that don’t offer sufficient IP rights.
In negotiations with businesses, intellectual property will probably take center stage as Iraq looks to attract global investment away from its oil-based economy.
However, efforts to uphold the law and crack down on the extensive web of infractions have often been blocked by more pressing events in the crisis-hit nation or by influential businesspeople.