When is a sprinkle more than icing on the cake? Apparently when you're a much-imitated Beverly Hills bakery.
Sprinkles, the chain that started in 2005 and became a favorite of Oprah Winfrey and Paris Hilton, is suing Famous Cupcakes in West Hollywood. Sprinkles claims Famous Cupcakes is stealing its "modern dot" trademark, that circle-on-a-circle, color-coded piece of candy that tops every Sprinkles cupcake and helps distinguish a Red Velvet, say, from a Chai Latte.
Famous Cupcakes opened six months ago and uses dots as a motif on its packaging, in its store and on its website, though owner Desiree Adl said her cupcakes have no dots. All this drama, she said, is just plain silly.
"It's cupcakes!" Adl said. "There's more important things . . . than fighting over a dot."
Sprinkles, through its attorney, declined to comment. Its trademark infringement lawsuit, filed in federal court, contends that Famous "has damaged Sprinkles and the business and goodwill symbolized by the Modern Dot design." Bakeries in the U.S., Britain and Asia have imitated the dot design, but have all ceased using it after being contacted by Sprinkles, the suit states.
Adl acknowledged receiving a letter a few weeks ago from Sprinkles, but hadn't had much time to review it. And, since she's not using dots on her cupcakes, she didn't pay it much heed. In fact, she said she's actually kind of honored that Sprinkles considers her little bakery its rival.
"You put their cupcakes with our cupcakes, everyone knows which one is Sprinkles," she said.
Of course, business is business and that's the way the cupcake crumbles: "For them, it's serious, so I guess we'll have to handle it in court," Adl said.
Weigh in on the battle of the cupcake bakeries at latimes.com/cupcakes.