Starbucks Corporation has filed for multiple patents in Russia, just over two years after ceasing operations at the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, the Vedomosti Business Daily has reported, citing the database of Russia’s intellectual property agency Rospatent.

Its current patents are set to expire in 2025.

The move has ignited speculation among experts about the company’s future plans in the Russian market.

Starbucks suspended its operations in Russia on 10 March 2022, shortly after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, and announced a complete withdrawal from the Russian market in May of the same year, ending a near-15-year presence.

In July 2022, rapper Timati and restauranteur Anton Pinskiy took over Starbucks’ Russian business, rebranding it as Stars Coffee with the slogan “Bucks is gone, stars stay”, The Moscow Times reported.

The duo also acquired the contracts of the chain’s 2,000 employees. In the rebranding exercise, the mermaid image in Starbucks’ corporate logo was replaced with a girl with a star above her head on a traditional headdress.

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Pinskiy’s attempts to register “Stars Pinskiy Coffee” and “Stars Kanokov Coffee” trademarks were unsuccessful, with Rospatent finding them too akin to the original brand.

In April 2024, Pinskiy initiated legal proceedings to cancel the Starbucks Corporation trademark.

Meanwhile, according to the Vedomosti report, Starbucks has sought eight Russian patents for its brand and services, including “Starbucks Coffee” and “frappuccino”, food and drink preparations and loyalty programmes.

The Starbucks Corporation has not issued a statement regarding the patent filings, but legal experts suggest that the company may be aiming to both preserve the option to re-enter the Russian market and protect its intellectual property following the three-year patent expiration period.

Prior to its exit, Starbucks employed 2,000 individuals across 130 stores in Russia. Its premises were operated by Alshaya Group.