The ‘Utah cookie wars’ appear to have come to a nice resolution after competing companies Crumbl and Dirty Dough agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by Crumbl.
The cookie disputes began in May 2022 when Crumbl took legal action against Dirty Dough and Crave, citing “confusingly similar” logos and marketing materials.
The lawsuit specifically accused Dirty Dough of manipulating recipes and trade secrets.
The lawsuit against Crave was settled after two months, in July 2022, but the action against Dirty Dough remained.
Crumbl, owner of more than 920 franchises in all 50 states, claimed that Dirty Dough owner Bennett Maxwell received information to essentially recreate Crumbl’s recipes. Dirty Dough is a much smaller competitor with only 36 locations.
Crumbl and Dirty Dough say they have agreed to the terms of a settlement, but are still finalizing the deal
Bradley Maxwell, left, used to work at Crumbl. He was accused of sharing Crumbl’s recipes with his brother Bennett, the founder of Dirty Dough cookies
Bradley Maxwell, Bennett’s brother, was previously employed by Crumbl in early 2019.
The lawsuit alleged that during his last week at Crumbl, Bradley, a former process engineer, downloaded 66 Crumbl recipes and other confidential operational information to a personal cloud drive from Crumbl’s internal server.
Bradley Maxwell was also an early owner of Dirty Dough and he shared Crumbl’s information with Bennett, the founder of Dirty Dough.
At first, Bennett even dismissed the lawsuit, mocking it with several billboards in Salt Lake City.
Bennett said he was shocked by the claims against him.
“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ They think they own the cookie with sprinkles,” he told the newspaper Wall Street Journal.
Crumbl Cookies filed a lawsuit in May 2022 alleging that startup rival Dirty Dough stole cookie recipes and packaging designs. Pictured: Dirty Dough cookies (left) and Crumbl cookies (right)
Crumbl claimed that Dirty Dough founder Bennett Maxwell (left, pictured with his wife) received 66 Crumbl recipes from his brother Bradley, who worked on Crumbl’s processing line.
Bennett denied the allegations and launched an advertising campaign mocking the lawsuit and ridiculing Crumbl
After the initial lawsuit, Crumbl said a former Dirty Dough employee informed them about the stolen files.
“Crumbl’s recipes are among its most prized assets, and Crumbl carefully guards their secrecy to prevent them from falling into the hands of competitors,” an attorney for Crumbl said in the filing.
After news of the lawsuit broke and the “Cookie Wars” began, Bennett launched an ad campaign ridiculing Crumbl for going after his startup.
“Cookies so good we are used,” read one of the billboard ads.
At first, Bennett even dismissed the lawsuit, mocking it with several billboards in Salt Lake City
DIrty Dough took out a series of billboards mocking the lawsuit
Another said: ‘We don’t start lawsuits, we just have better cookies.’
Crumbl then went to court to force Dirty Dough to end its campaign mocking the case.
As part of the resolution of the case, Dirty Dough returned the Crumbl information and agreed to change certain cookie boxes to avoid potential customer confusion – although the terms of the settlement are confidential.
Crumbl issued a statement Monday calling the settlement “amicable.”
According to Crumbl’s statement, as part of the resolution of the case, Dirty Dough returned the Crumbl information and agreed to change certain cookie boxes to clear up any customer confusion. The remaining terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.
Dirty Dough mocked the lawsuit, suggesting that Crumbl was angry that DD had “better cookies.”
Crumbl claimed that Dirty Dough copied the box design, cookie recipes and menu layout
Bennett credited the lawsuit with his latest string of successes, which include opening new franchise locations, including Saratoga Springs, New York (above)
“Crumbl and Dirty Dough are pleased to have been able to work together to resolve this dispute and each remains committed to best serving its customers. Crumbl and Dirty Dough wish each other success in their future endeavors,” Crumbl’s statement read.
Meanwhile, Dirty Dough founder Bennett Maxwell also released a statement on Monday: ‘This journey has been a wild and interesting ride, but as the situation draws to a close, we’d like to shift our full attention to vital business initiatives – especially raising capital and driving our new mobile franchise offering. We are pleased to have reached a successful resolution that will allow us to close this chapter and move forward with our vision.”
The two companies will now spend the next thirty days working to finalize the written agreement between them.