Food & Beverage

Small New England coffee company outlasts Starbucks

Starbucks vs. Charbucks

Starbucks is known for roasting coffee. But in the case of the Seattle-based giant versus a small, family-run coffee operation, Starbucks itself got roasted.

The company just lost a 12-year legal battle in which it demanded that Wolfe's Borough Coffee in New Hampshire stop selling a blend called "Mister Charbucks."

Wolfe's Borough Coffee CEO Jim Clark appeared on "Street Signs" to discuss the lawsuit.

(

Though he won it, Clark told CNBC's Mandy Drury and Brian Sullivan that the stress has been brutal and that the publicity has not helped his business, which he and his wife run.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

"All I've ever cared about is getting this over with. ... It's been a long, hard fight, and it's been an awful lot of stress. … We get inundated with phone calls, emails, interviews and everything, but it has not helped our business—not once in the 12 years."

Clark says he was astounded when Starbucks filed suit against his company in 2001. He had been selling "Mister Charbucks" since 1997.

Starbucks sent CNBC the following statement:

"As a responsible trademark owner, Starbucks must take appropriate steps to protect the strengths of our marks. This approach to protecting trademark rights is consistent with the company's overall strategy of upholding the integrity of its intellectual property. ... Of note, this case did not involve damages. Starbucks was only asking for an injunction against the use of "Charbucks." This decision simply denies that request. "

—By CNBC's Dina Gusovsky. Follow her on Twiiter @DinaGusovsky