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USA Today reports that Starbucks is facing some blowback with its introduction of the "duffin," described as "part donut, part muffin," and part of the intermarriage of baked goods that started with the cronut.

In the UK, Starbucks has introduced the duffin, in 730 stores: it "uses a buttermilk base, and tastes like a moist, cakey muffin, not the coarse, bready type. It looks like a muffin, but it’s filled with raspberry jam and coated in sugar, like a jelly doughnut. Eating a duffin is incredibly messy and not for those too dignified to wipe or lick clumps of sugar crystals off their fingers."

The problem is that "the Duffin has, apparently, been around for years. Bea's of Bloomsbury, a small London baker, has been selling them since April 2011," and is reviewing its legal options.

Starbucks has trademarked the "duffin" name, which Bea's never did, and the small bakery now is worried that it might be prohibited from using it. One of the things it is considering is trying to legally invalidate the Starbucks trademark on the name.

For its part, Starbucks says it won't try to stop Bea's from using the name or the recipe, and denies that it stole the idea.

However, the story points out that this may not matter, that "Starbucks appears to have gotten caught with its hand in the proverbial cookie jar, and it's evolving into a social-media consumer melee on Twitter and Facebook — something no major brand wants."
KC's View:
Amazing how a little bakery in Bloomsbury can precipitate a social media controversy that threatens to engulf a major multinational corporation.