Lawsuit claims Starbucks stole secrets for coffee-flavored lip balms

After the company's initial complaint against the coffee juggernaut was tossed by a California judge, the creator of coffee-scented lip balms whipped up a new lawsuit against Starbucks for allegedly copying its idea.

By bringing the complaint in a Western Washington District Court last week, Balmuccino, a business with ties to Dr. Oz based in California, brought the battle to Seattle-based Starbucks' door.

The lawsuit claims that Howard Schultz, the then-CEO, was introduced to Samantha Lemole, an actress, by Oz, the Republican candidate for Senate in Pennsylvania, at a pitch meeting in New York in 2017.

Lemole is said to have been put in touch with Mesh Gelman, senior vice president and head of product development at Starbucks, by Schultz, but no agreement was ever reached.

However, the lawsuit claims that in 2019, Starbucks introduced s'mores-themed Frappuccinos lip glosses in the flavours of Chocolatelicious Bliss, Marshmallow Glow, Campfire Spark, and Graham Glam.

In order to produce their rival product, Starbucks "misappropriated trade secrets," according to Eduardo Martorell, a lawyer for Balmuccino. "To sell the goods, they started a national marketing effort."