Cakes and pastries are not usually the subject matter of intellectual property blogs, however, in this instance, they create interesting discussions and highlight the benefits of protecting your intellectual property.
First there is the Dundee cake. Steps are being taken to apply to the European Commission under the EU’s Protected Food Name Scheme to award the famous Dundee cake ‘Protected Geographical Indication’. If this is awarded, it will mean that only Dundee cakes (a famous rich fruit cake), produced in Dundee will be able to use the name. This sort of protection, is not your typical intellectual property right, however it seeks to preserve the goodwill and authenticity in the cake. Whilst this does not award a particular baker the intellectual property rights in the cake/recipe or design, it ensures that the cakes using the name ‘Dundee cake’ are only made in that location and awards legal protection from imitation throughout the EU. This is a useful tool and has been utilised already to protect food and drinks such as Kentish Ale, Cornish Pasty, Melton Mowbray Pork Pie and Buxton Blue Cheese.
Now from cakes to muffins, we now find our self discussing the ‘Duffin’. This is a combination of a doughnut and a muffin, which is baked and dipped in butter and stuffed with Jam (sounds delicious!). Starbucks have recently started to sell this calorific creation and their supplier, Rich’s Products have successfully trademarked the name ‘Duffin’. Since such registration, the owner of a small chain of bakeries who contends that she invented this recipe in 2011 and who claims to have been selling this product in her bakeries for a number of months is concerned that she will be prevented from continuing to do so as a result of this registration. It is unusual to think that a cake name would benefit from trademark protection, and generic cake terminology such as ‘chocolate cake’ would not be registerable due to its descriptiveness. However, the word ‘Duffin’ has satisfied necessary requirements and has successfully been registered in relation to class 30. This means that the owner of the trade mark, can stop anyone using the name in relation to bakery products. Although Starbucks have reportedly said that they have no intention of stopping small bakeries from selling their own Duffins, it is interesting to see the impact this could have and again it stresses the importance of protecting your intellectual property rights.