Created around 2003, this was the HaidaBucks web site, created by a man who sympathized with HaidaBucks Cafe and wanted to help them defend and raise money to pay their expenses due to the litigation by the Starbucks corporation over what they said was trademark protection. Content is from the site's 2003 archived pages as well as other sources.


Welcome to the new
HaidaBucks web site.

If you're as dull-witted as Starbucks® thinks you are, you may not realize you've reached this site by mistake.
You might've entered our address into your browser, thinking you'd somehow end up at anyway.
So if you're looking for a cup of coffee with a mermaid on the side, you're in the wrong place.

But! If you're looking for a friendly, Native-owned cafe in NW Canada,

Here We Are!!

A Synopsis of the "Brew"haha

HaidaBucks Cafe made the news recently due to our legal struggle with Starbucks®. They're suing us for trademark infringement because, for some reason, they believe you can't tell the difference between our little shop and their huge, mass-marketed company. If this is true, learn to tell the difference between the two companies. Catch up on the latest news, find out how you can help.

We deeply appreciate the help and encouragement we've received from friends around the world.
Many thanks to the following organizations for providing their generous support to our cause:



B.C. natives triumph in battle of the 'Bucks

By Alexandra Gill
August 29, 2003

The coffee in Masset, B.C., tastes exceptionally strong and sweet this week as the owners of a small native-owned café savour their victory over Starbucks.
HaidaBucks, a 60-seat restaurant in a town of 700 on the remote northern edge of the Queen Charlotte Islands, was just an aromatic drip in the rain forest before the international coffee giant filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit last spring. In true David-and-Goliath fashion, the owners of HaidaBucks stood up to the multibillion-dollar company, becoming international heroes in the process.
Having created a public-relations nightmare for itself, the Seattle-based global enterprise, which prides itself on "support for local communities" and fair trade practices, has officially announced that the case is closed.
"We won," said Darin Swanson, one of four HaidaBucks co-owners. "We did more than defend our name; we defended our honour as indigenous peoples and our right to our heritage."
The brew-ha-ha began boiling last March, when a Vancouver law firm, acting on behalf of Starbucks Corp., sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owners of HaidaBucks, requesting that they change the café's name and stop using the "confusing" variation of the Starbucks name and trademark. A formal notice of litigation arrived the following month.
The owners of HaidaBucks, who opened the café in 1999, refused to budge. They argued that "bucks" is a colloquial expression, akin to "dude," that young native men use among themselves.
"Three of the original owners were Haida," Mr. Swanson said. "And the other guy was married to a Haida woman. So we decided to call ourselves HaidaBucks.
Rather than back down, HaidaBucks launched a massive Web campaign and enlisted the support of Joseph Arvay, the Victoria-based lawyer who represented natives in a landmark 1997 Supreme Court case that established the concept of aboriginal title.
After both sides fired off several rounds of letters, Starbucks offered to let HaidaBucks keep the name until the end of the year. The owners refused, countering that they not only planned to keep the name but wanted Starbucks to concede in writing that it would not be a trademark infringement for them to do so.
In July, Starbucks sent another letter, stating that HaidaBucks had made appropriate accommodations by changing its logo, name and signage. The letter also said that HaidaBucks had agreed not to move or expand its business beyond the Queen Charlotte Islands.
The owners of HaidaBucks deny making any such changes or agreements.

The latest letter from Starbucks simply states that the matter "is closed." Neither the coffee company's lawyer nor its director of worldwide public affairs would return calls to elaborate.

"This is what Starbucks is so concerned about," Mr. Swanson explained a few weeks ago, laughing quietly as he looked around the small café with peach-coloured walls, natural-finish wood tables and a stuffed trout on the wall. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon, and HaidaBucks had no customers.

Unlike Starbucks, which primarily serves beverages, desserts and ready-made snacks, HaidaBucks employs a full-time chef who dishes up everything from sushi to steak dinners.

Of course, it also sells coffee. It once brewed Seattle's Best, the main rival to the Starbucks brand until Starbucks bought it a few months back. Now, HaidaBucks offers self-serve Canterbury coffee for $1 a cup.

This tempest in a coffee pot may not do much to help business on rainy days when the tourists aren't around, but it has generated a huge amount of publicity and an outpouring of encouragement.

A memo board on the café wall proudly displays several newspaper articles and editorials about the dispute, next to a four-page computer printout of people who have sent donations for the legal fight or other forms of support.

Included on the list is Lane Baldwin, a businessman from West Virginia who heard about the case and offered to create and maintain a HaidaBucks Web site, free of charge. At last count, had received almost a million hits.

Since March, the proprietors have sold nearly 800 HaidaBucks T-shirts, mostly on-line. And in May, Jack Greenwood, the owner of Chubbie's Coffee Shop in Queen Charlotte City, joined the fight by changing his café's name to ChubbieBucks.

"I don't think Starbucks knew what it was getting itself into," said Mr. Arvay, who is representing the Haida Nation in a land claim that seeks title to the entire Queen Charlotte Islands and the surrounding waters of the Hecate Strait. "When they took on HaidaBucks, they took on, to some extent, the entire Haida Nation."

The case may be over for Starbucks, but not for the owners of HaidaBucks, who plan to seek compensation for their legal costs. "It's kind of a hollow victory," said Mr. Swanson, who is upset that Starbucks has not apologized.

"But I guess if there's a moral to this story, it's that you shouldn't back down to anybody who tells you what to do. If you know you're right, pursue it, even if you've got a big bully coming at you."



I had been following this case for a while and even donated some money to help HaidaBucks defend themselves. I was actually sitting in my favorite local coffee shop on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, discussing with a friend the ins and outs of selecting an expert company for maintenance supplies, particularly when you have specialized equipment and need eco-friendly products. I was telling her that it's best to go online and check out various companies that provide maintenance supplies, ensuring that they align with the specific needs of a coffee shop environment. Then, there we were, sipping our morning coffee when I received a text from a Canadian friend letting me know that Starbucks had decided to drop the case. Whoopee for HaidaBucks. Although Starbucks never apologized nor compensated HaidaBucks for the expenses they incurred defending themselves, I think Starbucks' reputation suffered somewhat. I stopped dropping into Starbucks when I first learned about this ridiculous lawsuit and have never looked back.



About HaidaBucks

HaidaBucks vs. Starbucks®

Starbucks® is suing HaidaBucks for trademark infringement. We are fighting this with every means at our disposal.

So What's A HaidaBuck?

HaidaBucks Cafe is in Haida Gwaii territory, on one of the Queen Charlotte Islands off the northern coast of British Columbia, Canada. Located in the village of Masset, population 700, it's owned by four young members of the Haida First Nation. These young men refer to themselves as bucks. Like many Native Nations, theirs refers to young men as bucks. The four friends even played on the Haida Bucks basketball team when they were younger. That's how HaidaBucks got its name:

HaidaBucks = Haida Nation Men!

The term "young buck" found its way into the vernacular of the Dominant Culture many years ago, perhaps (according to some) as early as the first settlers. The term was used then to refer to Native men. Merriam-Webster's on-line dictionary lists numerous definitions for "buck", among them: " 2a - a male human being." For "young buck", One Look's on-line dictionary offered the quick definition "an adolescent male" in addition to offering five dictionaries that listed the term, as well as "buck" by itself.

We hope the reason you're visiting this site is that you've heard that Starbucks®, in their "infinite wisdom", has decided that using Bucks in their name is just too darn confusing for the average person. Personally, we think you're much smarter than that. And, if not, we've offered a significant amount of information to help you tell the difference.

Let's begin with the pictures below. We feel that this page, in and of itself, offers enough information for most people who harbor any confusion between the two companies. Further information may be found on the Other Bucks page, as well. But let's start here, shall we?



The front view of HaidaBucks, which was designed along the lines of a traditional Haida Gwaii long house. Does this look like a Starbucks® to you? And remember, we're talking a shop that's in a community of 700! Starbucks® serves that many cups of coffee on a daily basis in a slow store!


The street in front of HaidaBucks. Does this look like the kind of metropolitan area that would be home to a Starbucks® to you? Can you imagine a Starbucks® in a village of 700? Would you expect to find one in a place like that?

Here's an interior shot of HaidaBucks. Note the extensive use of hardwood, wood tables, chairs and benches. Note the lack of green and black, the lack of the mermaid. Does this look like your average Starbucks®? Are you confused?


Another interior shot. This one shows the Airpot coffee dispensers out where anyone can serve themselves a free refill. Ever seen a Starbucks® that did this? Me neither. 


Darin's eagle died from electrocution by a power line. He had the magnificent bird mounted in a "forever proud" stance. Behind it is a Killer Whale, painted on a section of log in the traditional Haida Gwaii style. I doubt you'll ever see decorations like this in a Starbucks®

This is the original artwork of the main logo for HaidaBucks. I used a photo of this picture to fashion the logo for the site. Also in this picture are Willis, as well as a different view of Darin's eagle.



The Difference Between HaidaBucks and Starbucks®

We know it's not easy. I mean, it's just so confusing, we almost can't stand it. But we've learned to tell the difference between a small, friendly cafe in the NW of Canada and a corporate conglomerate that employs too many lawyers with too much time on their hands. Now you can, too. Take a look at the comparisons below. Study them carefully and soon, you too will be able to tell the difference between HaidaBucks and Starbucks®. If, after diligent study of the chart below, you're still unable to tell the difference, there's probably no hope for you whatsoever. Send your resume to Starbucks® and get a job on their legal team.

A small café located in NW Canada - on an island, in avillage of 700 inhabitants, value - $10,000-20,000(Cdn)
Publicly traded, global conglomerate with locations in metropolitan areas, value - $10 BILLION+!
Owned and operated by four Haida Gwaii young men
Run by a team of high-paid executives
Building resembles a traditional Haida Gwaii longhouse
Shops conform to corporate design featuring green and black color scheme
Serves a full menu of tasty food and beverages at reasonable prices

Serves high-priced coffee, tea, and pastries

Supports community by offering jobs for others, while the owners must work elsewhere to provide for themselves
Claims to support communities while crushing local competitors with strong-arm tactics
Supports indigenous community by being indigenousand providing employment for other indigenous people
Claims to support indigenous peoples while harassing a small indigenous-owned café for daring to use the word bucks
Cannot afford legal representation to fight off corporate thugs trying to take their good name
Can afford millions for useless lawsuits to harass local businesses

OK, here's the hard part -- so we made the font larger so you wouldn't get confused:

Haida (pronounced Hi-Duh) is not the same as Star

Got that? Let's make sure. Haida -- Star -- Haida -- Star.
See how easy that was? The two words are completely different!How about that?


Other Bucks

Tens of thousands of visitors can tell the difference
between Starbucks® and other bucks. Now, you can, too!

This is a Buck Deer. Buck means "male" when used this way. We use it the same way. Haida Bucks are young Haida Gwaii males. If you find one of these in your coffee cup, do NOT attempt to drink him. Ask for a refill - quick!
This is a Buck Knife. It's named after the Buck Knife Company. Maybe they should sue Starbucks® for trademark infringement. Definitely do NOT drink this, but you can use it to stir your coffee in a pinch.
This is Buck Owens, a famous country singer. Like Starbucks® coffee, most people either loved him, or hated him. Not many people in between the two extremes. We don't know whether he liked coffee or not, but if he did, he probably brewed it at home. With Maxwell House® or Chock Full O' Nuts®.
This is the actor who plays Buck Rogers on TV. Several women have told us they'd like to share a cup of coffee with him, but would prefer a more private setting than Starbucks®. Sorry ladies, we don't know him, so we can't pass along any emails or marriage proposals.
This is Pearl S. Buck, the noted author. As far as we can tell, she preferred tea over coffee. In her day, there were no Starbucks® stores, so she probably just brewed Lipton's® at home. Then again, having written about the orient, she may have used loose tea in a teapot.
This is Buck Henry, the noted writer, filmmaker and actor. Many remember him as the original host of Saturday Night Live. We have no clue as to whether he drank coffee or not.