By Mary Jean Kim, IP Brief
In 2011, Bea Vo, owner of Beas of Bloomsbury , published a cookbook that featured her recipe for the duffin; a doughnut-muffin hybrid pastry. It wasn’t a new idea, but Vo’s unique version contained buttermilk, nutmeg, an injection of raspberry jam, and was baked, dipped in melted butter, and coated in sugar. It immediately became a popular choice amongst her customers, selling hot duffins at her four locations in London.
To her surprise, Starbucks UK introduced an almost identical product in 730 of its locations last week. The coffee giant also announced on its blog that its “perfect creation,” is “lightly spiced with nutmeg and has a raspberry jam filling” and is nonetheless called, the Duffin. After discovering that Starbucks’ supplier, Rich Products, was granted trademark protection for the Duffin, Vo feared that a cease and desist letter would prohibit her from selling her own creation. This caused a flurry of her loyalists to take to social media, protesting their outrage through the Twitter hashtag: #Duffingate.
Although Starbucks initially maintained that it conducted “a full trademark search on the name” and “found no indication that anyone else was using the name, nor retailing a similar product,” the company’s blog now reflects a change in sentiment and recognizes the existence of “other Duffins out there.” Ian Cranna, Starbucks’ Vice President of marketing, even declared “that it would not try to stop Vo from selling her own duffins.”
Read the full story by Mary Jean Kim from IP Brief.