In my opinion, the worst thing that can happen to a cupcake is its frosting falling off. But after reading this article in today’s New York Post, I’ve realized that trademark infringement can be an equally harsh cupcake woe.
The current owners of the famous New York sweet spot Magnolia Bakery, Steve and Tyra Abrams, are suing the bakery’s co-founder, Jennifer Appel, for alleged trademark infringement, unfair competition and interfering in a contract. The Abramses claim that Appel, who sold her share of Magnolia in 1999 and opened up a rival shop, deliberately helped Greek socialite Nicole Kotovos open a knockoff of Magnolia Bakery in Athens, Greece, by giving her Magnolia’s recipes and business secrets.
Appel denies any such foul play, and in turn is actually suing Kotovos, claiming that Kotovos tricked her into divulging the secrets. Appel says she had no knowledge that Kotovos was planning to use the name “Magnolia” and had actually warned her against using it. According to Kotovos, Appel had acted as a consultant to open her store in Athens, but upon learning of Magnolia Bakery’s lawsuit, Appel terminated her relationship with Kotovos.
And just to fill out this cupcake lawsuit triangle, Steve and Tyra Abrams filed for an injunction to prevent Kotovos from using the domain name MagnoliaCupcakes.gr. Interestingly, Magnolia.gr and MagnoliaBakery.gr both remain available, but the article did not mention whether the injunction covered those domains as well. The Abramses are also suing Kotovos in both Greece and New York, and attempting to get her bakery closed.
It turns out nothing can kill a cupcake craving like a torrid legal battle.
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