Dr. Oz's family is suing Starbucks after claiming the coffee giant stole their idea for coffee-flavored lip balms.
According to legal documents, obtained by The Blast, In 2016, a company called Balmuccino began developing a line of coffee-flavored lip balms.
The Lip Kits
One of the managing members, Samantha Lemole, is Dr. Oz's sister-in-law. Lemole told Dr. Oz the company was looking for a corporate partner to help take their product to market.
According to the lawsuit, Dr. Oz contacted Howard Shultz, the CEO of the coffee brand, to pitch him the idea of Starbucks being the partner in the deal.
Dr. Oz Reaches Out To Starbucks CEO
They claim Shultz instructed the group to reach out directly to Starbucks head of development and set up a meeting. The group met in the NYC corporate office of Starbucks and discussed a possible joint venture to launch the lip balm line.
Run It Up The Flag Pole
During the meeting, the lawsuit claims, the Balmuccino group asked Starbucks employees to sign a non-disclosure agreement. But, they deflected, saying that because the meeting was set up by Mr. Shultz and Dr. Oz they should be comfortable with the confidentiality.
After the meeting, the head of development said he would run the idea "up the flagpole."
Starbucks Puts Out Similar Lip Kits
In 2018, Balmuccino was "shockingly notified that (Starbucks)had reached out to one of the suppliers they had been working with to inquire about coffee-flavored lip balms."
Then in April 2019, Starbucks announced the launch of a kit of four liquid lipsticks/glosses called "The S'mores Frappuccino Sip Kit" to celebrate the return of Starbucks S'mores Frappuccino and it included four shades (three nude-brown-caramel shades, and one iridescent white shade) called Chocolicious Bliss, Marshmallow Glow, Campfire, Spark, and Graham Glam.
In the documents, they claim Starbucks, "effectively stole their product and has begun the manufacturing and sale of that product."
Balmuccino is suing for trade secret misappropriation, and breach of contract.