The ‘Utah cookie wars’ appear to have come to a sweet resolution after competing companies Crumbl and Dirty Dough agreed to settle a long-standing lawsuit.
The cookie conflicts 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 pinching recipes and trade secrets.
The lawsuit against Crave was settled after two months, in July 2022, but action against Dirty Dough persisted.
Crumbl, which owns more than 920 franchises in all 50 states, alleged that Dirty Dough’s owner, Bennett Maxwell, had received information to essentially recreate Crumbl’s recipes. Dirty Dough is a far smaller competitor with just 36 locations.
Crumbl and Dirty Dough say they have agreed to the terms of a settlement, but are still finalizing the agreement
Bradley Maxwell, left, used to work at Crumbl. He was accused of sharing Crumbl’s recipes with his brother Bennett, right, the founder of Dirty Dough cookies
Bradley Maxwell, Bennett’s brother, was previously employed by Crumbl in early 2019.
The lawsuit alleged how Bradley, a former process engineer, had downloaded 66 Crumbl recipes and other confidential operational information onto a personal cloud drive from Crumbl’s internal server during his final week of employment at Crumbl.
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 slammed the lawsuit and mocked it with various billboard ads across Salt Lake City.
Bennett said he was shocked by the claims made against him.
‘I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? They think they own the cookie with sprinkles,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
Crumbl Cookies filed a lawsuit in May 2022 alleging startup rival Dirty Dough stole cookie recipes and packaging designs. Pictured: Dirty Dough cookies (left) and Crumbl cookies (right)
Crumbl claimed Dirty Dough founder Bennett Maxwell (left, pictured with 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 ad campaign taunting the lawsuit and poking fun at Crumbl
Following its initial lawsuit filing, 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 protect them from falling into competitors’ hands,’ a Crumbl lawyer said in the filing.
After news of the lawsuit broke out and the ‘Cookie Wars’ began, Bennett launched an ad campaign poking fun at Crumbl for going after his start-up.
‘Cookies so good we’re being used,’ one of the billboard ads read.
At first, Bennett even slammed the lawsuit and mocked it with various billboard ads across Salt Lake City
DIrty Dough took out a series of billboard ads scoffing at the lawsuit
Another stated: ‘We don’t file lawsuits, we just have better cookies.’
Crumbl then went to the courts to force Dirty Dough to stop its campaign mocking the case.
As part of the case being resolved, Dirty Dough returned the Crumbl information and has agreed to change certain cookie boxes in order to eliminate any potential confusion for customers – 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 case resolution, Dirty Dough returned the Crumbl information and has agreed to change certain cookie boxes in order to eliminate any potential confusion for customers. The remaining terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.
Dirty Dough mocked the suit suggested that Crumbl was upset that DD had ‘better cookies’
Crumbl alleged that Dirty Dough copied its box design and cookie recipes and menu layout
Bennett has attributed the suit to his latest round of successes, including opening a new franchise locations including Saratoga Springs, New York (above)
‘Crumbl and Dirty Dough are pleased that they have been able to work together to resolve this dispute and each remains dedicated to serving its customers with excellence. Crumbl and Dirty Dough wish each other success in their future endeavors,’ Crumbl’s statement said.
Meanwhile, Dirty Dough founder Bennett Maxwell also released a statement Monday.
It read: ‘This journey has been a wild and interesting ride, but now, with the situation coming to a close, we’re eager to shift our full attention to vital business initiatives — particularly raising capital and energizing our new mobile franchise offerings. We are glad to be coming to a successful resolution that allows us to close this chapter and move forward with our vision.’
The two companies will now work on finalizing the written agreement between them over the next 30 days.