Makes me want to tell General Mills to go Bake Off

December 10, 2007 at 10:05 am | Posted in food, local | 7 Comments

The Potsdam Food Co-op, who has been running its Holiday Bake Off for 10 years to benefit a local food bank, the Potsdam Neighborhood Center, has to change the name. Apparently, Pillsbury owns the word “Bake-Off,” and threatened legal action if they didn’t stop using the term immediately. In fact, Pillsbury didn’t even contact the co-op, they did it through the local community paper, North Country This Week. And they did it only a week before this year’s event, after deadlines for advertising submissions had passed, even though they knew about the co-op’s use of the term for a year. Registered trademark or not, that’s rude.

Here is the story in North Country This Week. NPR picked up the story, too.



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  1. If they didn’t contact the organization, then they didn’t threaten anything. Nothing in US law says that a press release is equivalent to a legal filing.

    If I was them, I’d ignore the entire “threat”. By the time they get around to filing a real complaint, this year’s even will be over. Then they can say “sorry about that” and pick a different name for next year.

  2. They contacted the local paper and told them not to run the ads with “Bake Off” in them, so the main source of advertising was cut off unless the name was changed. So, practically speaking, the reason for changing the name so quickly wasn’t so much legal as practical.

  3. Hmmm,

    I’m thinking about the guy at Pillsbury, who’s job it is to contact this local newspaper. Now, presumably, this isn’t hte only town that uses the term, “bake-off,” and presumably, Pillsbury didn’t single out this one competition as a threat to its name, so this sad sot of a Pillsbury employee probably has a few hundred of these names on a list and he has to go and contact the local ad outlets (papers, magazines, etc.) for every one of them. What a sucky job.

    Also, I wonder who holds the name “cook-off” as there seem to be even more events with that name. I bet THAT employee for that company is swamped.

  4. Too funny!

    I just went to the link for the NPR story (surprised I missed it yesterday morning), and it soundsl ike the event organizers took it in stride and shot back with just the right amount of irony and sarcasm:

    “Still, organizers renamed Sunday’s event a “baking contest.” Organizers are still looking for a snappier name; they put a Pillsbury Doughboy cookie jar out at the event, as a suggestion box. One submission: “bake-on.”

    A PILLSBURY DOUGHBOY COOKIE JAR for the suggestions. Perfect!

  5. e-gad!
    everyone’s a grinch these days!!!!

  6. Yeah, the cookie jar was a stroke of genius!

  7. To SCD:

    Thanks for your comment about handling it just right amount 🙂 We raised $1,105 for the Potsdam Neighborhood Center!

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