Things Get Sticky for French Chef, who Finally Lands “Cronut” Trademark Registration

By Joseph Mandour on January 29, 2014

Trademark DisputeLos Angeles – After months of fighting off other bakers, French pastry chef Dominque Ansel has finally prevailed in registering his fancy baked treat as a trademark.   The “Cronut” officially registered as a trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on January 14 in connection with Class 30 for an array of baked goods and other sweets.  The registration emerges long after Ansel originally applied for it in the spring of 2013 and his road to getting the registration has been fraught with turmoil.  Now, Ansel has released a statement backing up his decision to register the Cronut name.

In a recent Facebook post penned by Ansel, he explains that he never claimed to invent the pastry that has become a cult phenomenon in New York and beyond.  Rather, he states that he just came up with a  catchy name for it, and while others are free to make similar desserts, they should call it by another name.  In his post, the now renowned dessert chef analogizes the situation to hamburgers, saying, “McDonald’s has a burger named the Big Mac and Burger King offers one known as the Whopper. Neither prevent the other from serving up a hamburger.”

While fellow bakers have openly criticized his decision to register Cronut as a trademark, accusing him of trying to monopolize the trend and stifle creation, Ansel defends his choice as a simple protection of his business.  He argues that others who use names that knock off his, such as “Croughnuts”, are infringing on the success of his particular bakery.  He contends that while there is nothing stopping other chefs from creating similar pastries, they simply cannot use the term that he coined for them.

The Cronut craze began in May 2013, with Ansel’s Dominique Ansel Bakery heading up the trend from the start.   As soon as the success of the cream-filled, part donut, part croissant pasties started taking off, bakeries all around New York started selling comparable treats.   While many have found success in selling the indulgent little desserts, Ansel’s bakery has remained king, with a line of customers forming each morning hours before the shop opens.  Ansel’s Cronuts sell for $5 each, are limited to two per customer and are available exclusively at his Manhattan boutique.

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