"Cupcake Wars" judge victorious in trademark infringement suit

Connecticut shop forced to remove “Sprinkles” from its name

“Cupcake Wars” became quite the literal term for one of Food Network’s popular shows' judges.

When Candace Nelson, a judge on “Cupcake Wars,” learned that a cupcake shop in Connecticut had a similar name as her chain of California-based cupcake shops, she sued. And recently, a judge ruled in her favor.

Nelson said Pinks Sprinkles in Fairfield, Conn., was infringing her trademark Sprinkles chain of shops. According to the suit, the names were “likely to cause confusion in the marketplace” and “damage Sprinkles and injure its reputation in the trade and with the public.” Nelson says her Sprinkles brand became famous after appearing on popular TV programs such as "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Today Show" and "Entertainment Tonight." Nelson also sells her cupcake mix at Williams-Sonoma.

After the recent ruling, Pink Sprinkles’ owners, who claimed to have been completely in the dark about the competing brand, agreed to change their shop’s name to the Pink Cupcake Shack. “The client had no idea there was anything called Sprinkles Cupcakes, because there were no stores here,” said Alan Neigher, an attorney for Pink Cupcake Shack. “It was an innocent mistake, and it was resolved amicably.”

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Cathleen Flahardy

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