02 September 2010

I *Can* Change My Mold

So many of you have written in recent months for an update on my sob story concerning the new Paris cupcakery who trademarked & opened shop with a name almost identical to Little Miss Cupcake (a name I have been using since 2008)....Here's Part 2 and a Happy Ending!

When I last wrote I described my efforts to settle this amicably. Whereby the CopyCat sicced her lawyer on me. At this point, I felt I had no choice but to file an opposition with the INPI, France's equivalent of the Trademark Office. My lawyer explained this was likely a lost cause but a mandatory first step if I wanted to fight this. Why? A search of the INPI online database shows not a single case where a non-trademarked brand (that would be me) successfully blocked a trademark filing of a similarly named company. But I understood it had to be done.

So it was no surprise when I received the official reply from the INPI stating I had failed to show evidence that Little Miss Cupcake is a well-known name among the Parisian cupcake eating public. Despite the fact that I submitted over 250 pages of press articles naming Little Miss Cupcake as a pioneer and one of the more established cupcake bakers on the market; order invoices from well-known corporate clients; visitor statistics from my blog and other social media; emails from individuals and corporations interested in partnering with me; my ownership of the domain names, etc. In their reply they stated that only proved that Little Miss Cupcake exists but not as a trademarked brand; that I am written about frequently; that I get lots of orders; that I have a lot of people online who are interested in me and my company news as well as people interested in doing business with my company. BUT this fails to prove that Little Miss Cupcake is a brand that people know of. I can’t say I follow this logic at all but then I guess that is what bureaucracy is all about.

As infuriated and depressed this news left me I realized I had to accept the ruling and move on. My lawyer laid out my options : 1) keep my head down and co-exist in the market with CopyCat, 2) take CopyCat to court, 3) wait to see if CopyCat came after me for "counterfeiting" her brand (can you imagine?), or 4) proactively change my name. My lawyer felt strongly about option #2 and mapped out the road ahead. But as I listened to her drone on about the process, I wasn't sure I was ready for a long, drawn-out, expensive court battle. Preparing my dossier for the INPI had been difficult enough and took me weeks to pull together. The prospect of living with this for another year, sapping my energies and leaving me in a constant state of stress just wasn't an option for me. So for the short-term, I decided to take my time and weigh my options before moving forward. Besides, I was so busy before the summer and happily distracted doing what I love doing: baking, rather than focusing on this ugly affair.

And then the emails and blog comments started rolling in.

People who had visited CopyCat's shop thinking she was me wrote to accuse me of photo-shopping or stealing the pictures on my blog because what they had seen in "my" shop didn't look anything like what was advertised online. Or that I was a hack - after a visit to "my" shop, they decided I must be paying people to write glowing reviews about me because my cupcakes tasted like (expletive removed!). One woman went so far as to tell me I should be ashamed of being an American and to sell my products as “cupcakes” was an insult to the US! F*ck me! All this time I was steamed that CopyCat was going to profit from my reputation, it never even occurred to me that she could ruin it, and man did that piss me off. After the 40th or so email of this type (and my god were some of these people nasty!), I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

I don’t want to stagnate in this situation – it’s tiring, it’s frustrating and I don't like putting negative energy out there. So I've decided it's time to make a break with the past. It's the only way I can safeguard what I have worked so hard to build. I'll be slowly phasing out Little Miss Cupcake as the "official" name of my cupcake entreprise these next few weeks. She served me well, and I'll always carry a piece of her with me, but it's time to put some distance between myself and CopyCat.

Introducing...drum roll please...Sugar Daze! I may have a new name but I remain your best Paris source for delicious, fresh-baked American-style cupcakes! And most importantly, I have filed for the trademark. Help me spread the word!

I've learned some very painful but valuable lessons about running a business these past few months. I'm still in shock over French policies regarding trademarks and rights of use. And disappointed that I am the one who has to pay so dearly in a situation where I truly believe I was wronged. All because I made the rookie mistake of not trademarking my business name! But I am sick of feeling angry and bitter. Time to turn the page on this chapter and move on. Bye Bye Little Miss Cupcake, and HELLO Sugar Daze!

Thanks to all of you who have stood by me in these troubling times. Your friendship and support have meant more to me than you will ever know! And thanks to Aleberry Creative for designing my funky new logo!

Contact: info@sugardazecupcakes.com
Get Sugar Dazed: www.sugardazecupcakes.com


  1. What was that Will Rogers said? Ah yes, "It takes a lifetime to build a good reputation, but you can lose it in a minute when some no good Parisian opens a CopyCat cupcakery."

    Every time I think about that CopyCat cupcake shop, and hear about those idiots who confuse the two of you, it burns my sugar.

    However, my chef's hat is off to you for rising above the situation and baking up a great new name and logo.

    Let me know if there is anything I can do to spread the word -- or the buttercream. :-)

  2. I love it....The best of luck to SUGAR DAZE...and your new adventure on letting the citizens of Paris make the final decision on the CopyCat..she'll get her's in due time.

    On that note...I think I'll go take a look at what it takes to trademark here in the US!

  3. Brava, my dear! Delighted that you have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Or at least spread a generous layer of chocolate ganache on it. All this talk is making me hungry, though. What's this Printemps thing we've been hearing about??

  4. Unbelievable! Can't believe this happened to you but great attitude sticking to what you love to do. I'm rooting for you!

  5. Oh I didn't know that this was going on - what a terrible situation. On the upside though, I LOVE your new name! :)

  6. The name is great, catchy and has everything to do with your creations. And the logo is happy, vivacious and fun…just like you.

    I’m far far away from you, I don’t even know you in person, but that doesn’t matter. I can see how much you love what you do and how amazing your cupcakes are. I’m Team Sugar Daze ;P

    Let the CopyCat do her thing. What goes around comes around, right?

  7. Hooray for Sugar Daze and new beginnings!

  8. Congrats on taking the high road and doing what is best for you--if you bake it and bake it right, they will come and you have proved you can bake amazing cupcakes and your fans will follow you wherever needed.--Best of luck Cat--the world ahead is waiting :D

  9. Cat, It sounds like you've done the right thing. You'll leave Copycat in the dust.

    Your new logo is so bright,hip and memorable. It has a certain Peter Max look to it. Sugar Daze probably rolls of the French tongue much easier than your former name.

    I wish you well with this change! Nice job on the Printemps cupcake sales. That is awesome.

  10. Well Cat. I LOVE the new name, Sugar Daze is a very clever and awesome name for your business! And I love the new logo too! I am glad you were able to find a solution that worked for you, and your cupcakes are so awesome, I am sure your business will thrive, while this copycat's store will most likely fail!

  11. Congratulations all the way from New York!! All the best to you, you continue to be my inspiration for baking cupcakes at home and for family and friends..Jackie dba Galexi Cupcakes.

  12. I finally made it here to read the ending to the story, and I am so sorry it came to all this. Reading the parts about how you were being maligned makes me sick and sad. But I think you have been wise to change, and I love the name Sugar Daze! You will always be Little Miss Cupcake in my heart and mind, but I wish every success for Sugar Daze. The page, the logo, everything looks fantastic. I'm proud of you for diving in and starting up with this renewal just like a phoenix. :)

    Best to you with this new name!

  13. I really like the name Sugar Daze. You should open your own shop and put her out of business for good.

  14. Cat... I think the new logo and name seems very retro America in the very best cupcakey way! It's terrible what you've had to go through, I've said this before but I can at least mildly understand some of the pain as I've had my share of copycats and stealers of my images and work! and some name stealers as well, but not in my same city thank goodness

    i wish you all the VERY BEST with Sugar Daze! you are still the premier cupcaker in Paris!


  15. Just read this and feel so bad for you, how frustrating.... I have yet to taste your cupcakes but you put so much of yourself into this venture....

  16. YOU GO GIRL!!! Sugar Daze is funky, retro, kitch and cool! I think you have dealt with it all brilliantly & I think you are Sugar amazing!! I wish you all the success in your corner of Paris!

    With love, Lairy the Cupcake Fairy x

  17. I am not one to make comments on blog posts but curious about the copycat after reading your blog I just had to find their website and have a look. As a fellow cupcake business person I would like to say that I would be embarrassed to put the pictures that they have on their site anywhere on my website or in fact feed to my dog! They look a disgrace and this woman clearly knows jack about producing enticing looking food! Good luck with Sugar Daze!

  18. I was on your site looking for info on this weekend's opening when I came upon this saga...ridiculous!! I can't believe how any decent person could do that to another human being. And to ruin your name at that! It's so wonderful that you've got your own shop now to really show the Copycat how it's done!!

  19. Good job in letting go and moving on.. You should have called it the Copy Cat Cupcakerie ;) Best of luck out there!!! LOVE YOUR STORY!