Yesterday afternoon, Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping went to the Astor Place Cube to protest Starbucks' refusal to let Ethiopia to trademark coffees. The Ethiopian government tried to trademark coffee names, like Sidamo, Harar, and Yirgacheffe, which could bring nearly $100 million to farmers, but the US Patent and Trademark Office denied Ethiopia's trademark applications. Reverend Billy was arrested and taken to the 9th Precinct; we're guessing the Starbucks across from the Cube wasn't too happy about it.

Many have accused Starbucks of squashing the Ethiopian government's trademark attempt. Starbucks has denied this and actually issued a YouTube response from Starbucks' Dub Hay. The thing is, the coffee trade group National Coffee Association actually filed opposition to Ethiopia's trademark...and the Accidental Hedonist points out that the NCA's Government Affairs division is chaired by Hay. Hmm.

Photographs of yesterday's protest by dogseat/Eric H. Brown on Flickr