All square?

square donutsTerre Haute bakery and Family Express both make delicious donuts. Honest competition, right? But both US-based bakeries sell square donuts, and Terre Haute now claims Family Express has to stick to the traditional round donuts.
Family Express filed a complaint for declaratory judgment. It wants the court to rule that it may be allowed to continue to refer to its four-sided donuts as “Square Donuts.” Why, you ask? Because a bakery in Terre Haute has been making/baking ‘Square Donuts’ since the 1960s, so it says.
Family Express only started ‘squaring’ its donuts in 2005. After noticing this, Terre Haute sent a cease-and-desist letter, requesting Family Express to stop using the name “Square Donuts”.
But… but… but it’s generic, Family Express states. How can such a descriptive word be monopolised? Well, that sounds about right. Although… Terre Haute seems to have a US Trademark registration. Yes, really.
It’s up to the court to decide. Is Family Express right in saying the name cannot be trademarked? Or is Terre Haute right in claiming an exclusive trademark right? Or are they all square?
© photo Sarah K. (on Yelp)

Erwin Hauër

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