September 7, 2007 / 3:10 PM / 10 years ago

Starbucks opens first coffee shop in Russia

2 Min Read

<p>A woman drinks coffee in a newly opened Starbucks in a mall in Khimki outside Moscow, September 6, 2007.Alexander Natruskin</p>

KHIMKI, Russia (Reuters) - Starbucks opened its first coffee shop in Russia on Thursday, two years after it won a legal battle to protect the right to its brand in the fast-growing Russian market.

"This is an important step for the company, and we are looking forward to being a part of every day life for Russians," said Cliff Burrows, president of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa, as he opened the cafe.

The newest Starbucks in the worldwide chain of around 10,000 outlets is in the Mega shopping mall in Khimki, just north of Moscow.

In 2005 the company won a trademark fight over the Starbucks name. A "squatter" had registered to himself the right to use the name in Russia, and was asking $600,000 from Starbucks to relinquish it.

The company successfully proved in Russia courts that it was the rightful owner of the name.

Alyona Mikhailova, 34, placed Russia's first official Starbucks order, for a venti, or medium, cappuccino.

"In all of the countries I've been to I always definitely go to Starbucks, so I was really waiting for this opening," she said.

Burrows told Reuters this week the company plans to open a second store on Moscow's historic Stary Arbat street before the end of the year, but on Thursday would not answer questions on further expansion plans in Russia.

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