Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee
Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican coffee (Spanish: Juan Valdez bebe café de Costa Rica) is a slogan, implying that Juan Valdez, a fictional character created by the Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia (Fedcafé), drinks coffee from Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, the slogan is popular on bumper stickers. The slogan prompted a lawsuit for the first time in 2006, when Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia sued Café Britt following a t-shirt dispute.
The origins of the slogan are unclear. Juan Valdez has appeared in advertisements for Colombian coffee since 1959. Jaime Daremblum, then-Costa Rican ambassador to the United States, used the phrase in a 1999 speech.
Apparently the message about Juan Valdez as a drinker of Costa Rican coffee was attributed to José Duval, a New York based actor, who was the first Juan Valdez.
In 2006, The Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia received an injunction preventing the Costa Rican company Café Britt from selling t-shirts with the slogan. Fedcafé then filed a $1 million lawsuit on July 7, 2006 after Café Britt refused to sign a contract, stating that it must respect the intellectual property of Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia and refrain from using either the name or image of Juan Valdez. Café Britt filed a $200,000 counter-suit, after producing an affidavit from a Costa Rican man, Juan Valdez, certifying that he does drink Costa Rican coffee. Café Britt also argued that the phrase is so common as to be ineligible for legal protection.
Fedcafé maintains that Café Britt agreed in early 2006 to stop using its trademarks; Pablo Vargas, the manager of Café Britt, denies that such an agreement existed. The only and final agreement, according to Fedcafé's proposal of January 19, 2006, consisted in the total recall of the t-shirts. This is the agreement Britt accepted and executed on that same date. In exchange, Fedcafé committed to dismiss any further legal process.
The "other" Juan Valdez was discovered as early as 1999.
Café Britt presented a criminal case against Gabriel Silva, Federacafé's manager, for presumably defamatory statements, as well as taking civil action against him for damages of $1,000,000. Mr. Silva was notified in Colombia through diplomatic channels. All charges have since been dropped. When asked to comment, Silva's lawyer, Kyle Hoskinson, stated, "I'm glad this is all over."
- Costa Rica Tourism and Travel Bureau. 2006, February 24. "Costa Rica General Information."
- A.M. Costa Rica. 2006, May 11. "Colombians finally react to Juan Valdez joke." Vol. 6. No. 93.
- VolCafe Specialty Coffee. 2006, July 7. "Colombian Fedcafe files lawsuit against Costa Rican roaster."
- Costa Rican Vacations, UK. 2006, November. "Coffee Character Chaos."
- Schmidt, Blake. 2006, November 18. "Juan Valdez drinks Costa Rican Coffee." Tico Times.
- (Spanish) Nacion. 2006, May 11. "Cafeteros colombianos y Britt se enfrentan por 'Juan Valdez'."
- (Spanish) Nacion. 2007, Jan 13. "Britt demanda a Federación colombiana por difamación."
- Van Wik, Anika. 1999, December 22. "Colourful Costa Rican Poas Volcano is just one of the spectacular sights in this Central American country." Calgary Sun.
- (Spanish) portafolio.com.co. 2007, March 06. "http://www.portafolio.com.co/port_secc_online/porta_nego_online/2007-03-06/ARTICULO-WEB-NOTA_INTERIOR_PORTA-3441751.html Sigue polémica Britt-Federacafé."