UTAH (ABC4) – On May 10, Crumbl Cookies, a well-known cookie shop throughout Utah and the U.S. filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against two of its local competitors — Dirty Dough and Crave Cookies. Now, the owners of the respective franchises are fighting back against the lawsuit and what they say are false allegations.
Crumbl is seeking an injunction and monetary compensation from both Crave and Dirty Dough. Bennett Maxwell, co-owner of Dirty Dough, disputes the lawsuit entirely.
“The whole lawsuit is just bogus in my opinion,” he says.
In fact, he says the lawsuit has been positive for their sales, with hundreds of social media users coming to Dirty Dough’s defense.
“We’ve had a lot of added increase in business and franchise requests, but it’s still costing time and money to figure all this out.”
The lawsuit alleges that Dirty Dough and Crave Cookies copied multiple elements of Crumbl’s branding, such as packaging and presentation as part of “an effort to trade on the valuable goodwill and reputation associated with Crumbl’s trade dress.”
The lawsuit goes on to claim that in 2019 a family member of Maxwell’s, who was a Crumbl employee, left the company to help form Dirty Dough with knowledge of Crumbl’s recipes.
Maxwell disputes these claims as well. He says news articles posted online along with business registration documents show the company was started in 2018, and this former Crumbl employee was not involved in the founding of the company.
“You guys are just trying to slander us,” he says of Crumbl.
The owner of Crave Cookies, Trent English, shares the same sentiment about the lawsuit, denying the allegations across the board.
His company has already filed a response to the lawsuit.
“We’re pretty confused why a billion-dollar company is wanting to target two smaller start-ups out of Utah and Arizona,” English tells ABC4.
He sees the lawsuit as a failure of the U.S. legal system to protect smaller businesses like Crave from the larger competition.
Crave Cookies opened its first location out of a former soda shop in Midvale in 2019. It has since gone on to open stores in Sandy and West Valley City.
Crumbl claims English toured one of their locations in the past and even applied to be a Crumbl franchisee before going on to start his own cookie business, but English says that’s not true.
“I never applied to be a Crumbl franchisee, I never toured a single Crumbl facility.”
And he sees no merit in the claims that Crave copied Crumbl’s brand identity such as their packaging and logo.
“As far as the boxes and the layout and the branding, you can look at pizza boxes for example,” says English. “That’s the most economical size to put a round pizza in.”
“After three years in business, we haven’t had a single account of a customer mentioning any sort of confusion in the marketplace between us and any other brand,” English adds.
As far as plans for the future, English says Crave Cookies will continue their business as usual.
“We don’t see any merit to it [the lawsuit] and we plan on continuing to do what we’ve been doing for the last three years.”