Starbucks is locked in a “duffin” battle, and the inventive coffee chain is being accused of stealing the “duffin” concept from a small British bakery.
Yes, the cronut can take a seat as the duffin — Starbucks allegedly at the fore of taking the hybrid pastry national — ascends. The BBC speaks of an unstoppable march of hybrid bakery products, and the duffingate scandal’s allegations by the duffinventor (hey, we can do portmanteaus also!) make a Beeb appearance:
“Now we have the Duffin, a doughnut-muffin compound that captured headlines after it was trademarked by a Starbucks supplier, despite having been produced by an independent London tearoom for the past couple of years.”
After Starbucks’ duffin hostile move, indie bakery Bea’s of Bloomsbury loudly objected that Starbucks — who overshot the small shop’s 2011 published duffin recipe — was “attempting to take over rights of something they didn’t create or really own.” Oh, it is croiss-on, people!
“It’s like someone trying to trademark ‘fairy cakes’ or ‘whoopie pies’ or ‘macarons.’ Duffins have been in existence for years and they are trying to trademark something that has been in the baking lexicon documented for at least two years.”
To hear it from Starbucks, duffins originated not in a 2011 cookbook or earlier, but in a coffee boardroom. The company described duffins as a creation born as execs “sat together with our bakers and pondered how you could make a muffin go one step further.”
Starbucks UK’s Ian Cranna addressed duffingate 2013, admitting that the duffin is in no way an exclusive creation — which we assume goes both ways.
Cranna told press that the duffin is indeed an open-source baked good, explaining:
“Since launching, we have discovered there are other Duffins out there in the UK including at Bea’s of Bloomsbury, which is great news for muffin and doughnut fans across the country… It’s true that our supplier Rich Products, who created our fabulous Duffin has trademarked the name in the UK. However we’d like to make it clear that neither Starbucks nor Rich Products has suggested to Bea’s of Bloomsbury that they will attempt to stop them selling their own Duffins.”
While Starbucks’ duffin remains available, some say Bea’s could object despite the newer trademark.