You would think only joyful celebration would follow the news that Starbucks has created the "Duffin," a doughnut-muffin crossover pastry. But instead, we've ended up with Duffingate, a tempest in a Twitter teapot.
The story starts a few years back, when a small British bakery chain, Bea's of Bloomsbury, began selling its own jam-filled doughnut-textured muffin that customers would soon dub the Duffin. All was right with the world until last week, when Starbucks U.K. announced its own Duffin—and even had its supplier, Rich Products, trademark the name.
"I never trademarked the name duffin because I didn't think it was necessary," Bea's chef Bea Vo tells the Guardian. "We are a tiny independent—can we afford to fight this trademark and any future cease-and-desist letter? No."
Starbucks reportedly says it won't enforce the trademark, but that hasn't stopped the digital fist-shaking from small business advocates." Another reason to boycott Starbucks," notes one Londoner, "if the terrible coffee is not enough."