Cease and desist! NYC bakery says Newport, Ky. caterer can't use trademarked 'Cronut' label

NEWPORT, Ky. - Update:  Savor Catering and Events in Newport, Ky. has decided on a new name for its version of the Cronut™. After holding a contest via Facebook and Twitter, Savor's staff decided on Cro-Nati, suggested by Maggie Elizabeth Soard of Latonia, Ky.

What's in a name? When it comes to the latest pastry sensation, a lot.

In early July, Savor Catering and Events in Newport, Ky. received a cease and desist letter from the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York. It turns out the bakery trademarked the term Cronut™ in May. 

"The letter came by certified mail," said Savor sales manager Teresa Vetter. "We had to stop using the word immediately."

Vetter said the trademark issue puts her employer in a tough position: what to call the light and fluffy cross between a croissant and donut? The alternate spelling "croughnut," is also off limits. A spokeswoman for Ansel told CNNMoney  the alternate spelling is also an infringement on the trademark.

"Right now we're calling them croissant donuts," Vetter said.

Sweet cessation

Savor is not the only company to get a cease and desist letter from the Dominique Ansel Bakery. Pastry purveyors from coast to coast have been scrambling to come up with creative monikers. Among the alternatives:

  • doughssant (Spudnuts in Conoga Park, Calif.)
  • crullant (Semi Sweet Bakery in Los Angeles)
  • Swiss Cro-crème (Swiss Haus Bakery in Philadelphia)

The whole crusty controversy has put Dominique Ansel Bakery on the defensive. Its management posted a lengthy letter explaining the trademark decision on its Facebook page. The letter begins:

"It has sadly come to our attention today that there is a barrage misinformation being wrongfully spread about the nature of our Cronut™ trademark along with malicious attacks against our Chef."

It goes on to say that the decision to trademark the Cronut™ "was done out of responsibility. Insinuating that this somehow hinders culinary creativity in the world is preposterous."

Vetter said she and her colleagues were taken aback that Dominique Ansel Bakery would take drastic measures to keep the Cronut™ name to itself. But, since Savor's version of the pastry is now its best selling item, there are no plans to cease and desist baking the Savor chef's version.

"They're flying off the shelves," Vetter said, adding that Savor supplies the pastry to three local businesses: Bow Tie Cafe, Left Bank Coffeehouse, and Roebling Bookstore.

New name, sweet rewards

Vetter said Savor is turning the baked goods brouhaha into an opportunity. The Newport business is holding a contest to find a new name for its version of the croissant donut.

The winner gets a dozen of whatever the renamed pastry will be called. Savor is encouraging local businesses to pool their brain power to enter. The winning office gets breakfast on Savor.

To enter, simply post your idea on the Savor Facebook page or tweet your suggestion.

In case you missed it: Savor's Croissant Donuts on Good Morning Tri-State for "Try it out Tuesday"

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