Bakery sues another bakery in trademark lawsuit over unprotectable material
from cookie-monster department
There are a lot of things that tend to annoy me about the types of trademark disputes we cover here at Techdirt. Overly aggressive parties policing trademarks in a way that goes far beyond what is reasonable. A USPTO that seems all too happy to grant marks for things it just shouldn’t have, causing all sorts of chaos.
But perhaps most frustrating is when a lawsuit is filed for trademark infringement over a set of related items that don’t appear to be protectable trademarks at all. Take Crumbl, for example. Crumbl is a Utah cookie company suing another company, Dirty Dough, for trademark infringement. At the center of the complaint are two elements. First, that the Dirty Dough founder worked for Crumbl. Second, Dirty Dough does a bunch of stuff which Crumbl believes constitute trademark infringement. Such as:
“Specifically, Dirty Dough packs its cookies in boxes that perfectly fit side-by-side cookies, features whimsical outline-shaped designs, including a cookie with a bite, has a weekly rotating menu, and includes a cookie-like design with a bite to it in its decor and marketing,” the costume reads.
As you will see in the file below, it is mostly that. Crumbl also reportedly filed a similar lawsuit against another company called Crave.
As for the claims, well, go now. Having tight-fitting cookies in a box isn’t something you can drop. Having “whimsical” designs on this box, when they are not identical or even very similar, is also not something you can drop. You’ll see in the embedded document that the packaging is no more similar than the company logos the complaint also alleges to infringe (Dirty Dough on the left, Crumbl on the right).
Honestly, I struggle with this one. Both logos include an image of a cookie with a bite. Other than that, they’re almost perfectly different. One is only words, the other an image. One is orange and the other black. Hell, Dirty Dough’s has his name like the majority of the logo. Where is the potential for confusion?
Bennett Maxwell, the founder of Dirty Dough, will not only fight this in court, but also on social media under the hashtag #Utahcookiewars. For example, here is a recent article on LinkedIN.
That’s exactly the right tone to take with all of this. Fanciful derision is precisely what Crumbl’s lawsuit deserves on its merits.
So now we hope the courts will take the same view.
Filed Under: cookie wars, cookies, trademark
Companies: crumble, dirty dough