A lip gloss maker seems to be down with Starbucks. The New York Post reports that Los Angeles-based Balmuccino last week filed a lawsuit claiming that the Seattle-based coffee giant stole its coffee-scented lip balm idea.
A pitch meeting between Balmuccino and Mesh Gelman, then head of product development and senior vice president at Starbucks, reportedly took place in New York in 2017, but a deal never materialized, according to the lawsuit. In 2019, Starbucks launched a line of lip glosses based on the S’mores Frappuccino.
The meeting apparently came about when Dr. Mehmet Oz, host and politician, introduced his sister-in-law Samantha Lemole, a managing member of Balmuccino, to then-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
“Starbucks misappropriated trade secrets to create its competing product,”; Eduardo Martorell, a legal representative for Balmuccino, told the New York Post.
This is the second time Balmuccino has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks. The first suit, filed in 2019 in Los Angeles, was dismissed. The latest lawsuit, filed in Western Washington District Court, seeks $75,000 in damages.