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Kraft seeks preliminary injunction against Starbucks

Kraft Foods Inc. is seeking a preliminary injunction allowing the company to continue distributing Starbucks packaged coffee.

Kraft is seeking the injunction in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. If a preliminary injunction is granted, the order would essentially prohibit Starbucks from assuming full responsibility of sales and distribution of packaged coffee products until a final decision is made in court.

Northfield-based Kraft says the filing against Starbucks is separate from current arbitration proceedings. The two companies entered arbitration in late November after Starbucks announced it would end its 12-year-old distribution agreement with Kraft to supply packaged coffee to grocery stores.

Starbucks calls the request for a preliminary injunction a delaying tactic that would be harmful to customers. The coffee giant says it will oppose any action by Kraft that would prevent Starbucks from assuming full control of the brand. Starbucks plans to take over sales and distribution of the packaged coffee by March 2011.

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