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Read our lips: Starbucks stole balm idea, gloss maker says


A lip gloss maker appears to be down in the mouth with Starbucks. The New York Post reports that Los Angeles-based Balmuccino last week filed a lawsuit claiming the Seattle-based coffee giant stole its idea for coffee-scented lip balms.

A pitch meeting between Balmuccino and Mesh Gelman, then head of product development and a senior vice president at Starbucks, allegedly took place in New York in 2017, but a deal was never struck, 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, television presenter 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 their competing product,” Eduardo Martorell, a legal representative of Balmuccino, told the New York Post.

This is the second time Balmuccino has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks. The initial suit filed in 2019 in Los Angeles was dismissed. The latest lawsuit, filed in Western Washington District Court, seeks $75,000 in damages.