NORTHFIELD, IL -- Kraft Foods Inc. announced that it is seeking a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Starbucks Coffee Co. in an effort to stop the coffee chain from terminating its longstanding distribution deal. [see story]
The two businesses had started arbitration proceedings late last month after Starbucks said it wanted to end an agreement granting Kraft the exclusive rights for the sales, marketing and distribution of Starbucks roast and ground coffee in grocery and other retail outlets that began in 1998.
The contract between the two companies reportedly automatically renews for successive 10-year terms and has no expiration date. Kraft accused Starbucks of "proceeding with flagrant indifference to the terms of the contract and customary business practices" in a statement.
Starbucks issued a statement that it will "vigorously oppose any action on Kraft's part that would prevent Starbucks from rightfully assuming full control of our brand and business."