Half of Utah’s ‘cookie wars’ may soon come to an end

The cookie chain Crumbl is seeking to dismiss one of the two lawsuits it filed against smaller rivals.

(Crumbl Cookies) The Logan, Utah-based Crumbl bakery chain, which has more than 800 locations nationwide, filed lawsuits in May 2022 against two smaller Utah-based cookie companies, accusing them of infringing on Crumbl's trademarks. On July 19, 2023, Crumbl filed a joint motion with one of those companies, Crave Cookies, to dismiss that lawsuit.

There’s a ceasefire on one front in Utah’s “cookie wars.”

More than a year after Crumbl, which has launched hundreds of bakeries across the country since its beginnings in Logan in 2017, sued two smaller Utah-based cookie companies, the large cookie chain has apparently settled its differences with one of them.

On Wednesday, lawyers for Crumbl and Crave Cookies filed a joint motion to dismiss the lawsuit Crumbl filed in Utah U.S. District Court on May 10, 2022. Judge Tena Campbell, who is presiding over the case, must sign off on the motion for it to take effect.

In the lawsuits against Crave and Dirty Dough, Crumbl claimed trademark infringement over such things as the packaging design, and that the products are “confusingly similar to Crumbl’s established and successful trade dress and brand identity.”

Crumbl argued in its lawsuit that Crave’s co-founder, Trent English, applied to be a Crumbl franchise owner, and toured a Crumbl store before his application was denied.

In a joint statement, the companies said they had “reached an amicable settlement to a trademark and trade dress infringement dispute,” under terms that will remain confidential.

“Crumbl and Crave are pleased that they have been able to work together to resolve this dispute and each remains dedicated to serving its customers with excellence,” the statement said. “Crumbl and Crave wish each other success in their future endeavors.”

English, in his own statement, added: “We’re thrilled to put this last year behind us while refocusing our energy on doing what we do best — crafting delicious, memorable experiences for our incredible customers.  We are beyond grateful to everyone who has continued to support us.”

Crave’s executives kept their fight with Crumbl out of the public eye as the lawsuit against their company was working through the federal court. The same could not be said for Dirty Dough, which launched an Instagram campaign last July that introduced the hashtag #UtahCookieWars and declared “We’re not backing down!”

At the time, Bennett Maxwell, Dirty Dough’s founder, mocked Crumbl in a post on LinkedIn: “A billion dollar company suing 2 startups. Why? Because apparently if you put sprinkles of your cookies, Crumbl thinks they own that. Watch out Grandma, you better throw away those sprinkles or you will be Crumbl’s next victim.”

Dirty Dough followed the social media posts with an announcement that it would post billboards with such slogans as “Cookies so good we’re being sued!,” “Our cookies don’t crumble with competition” and “We don’t file lawsuits — we just have better cookies!”

Jason McGowan, the CEO of Crumbl, responded to Dirty Dough’s public comments with a LinkedIn post of his own last July. In that statement, McGowan said the brother of the founder of one of the rival companies “was a former corporate employee of Crumbl who had access to our recipes, schematics, processes and other proprietary information.” Crumbl’s lawsuit against Dirty Dough claimed that company was started by a former Crumbl employee.

Crumbl’s lawsuit against Dirty Dough is still being litigated, in the courtroom of Judge Howard Nielson Jr. The last movement in the case, according to the court docket, was on July 6, to set a hearing on a motion filed by Crumbl’s lawyers.

All three cookie makers have grown and expanded since the “cookie wars” started last year.

Crumbl’s website now lists 874 locations nationwide, in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. It has 29 locations in Utah, where the chain started in 2017 while one of its co-founders, Sawyer Hemsley, was attending Utah State University.

Dirty Dough boasts on its website 34 locations in nine states — 12 of them in Utah — and plans for 60 more nationwide. Crave’s website lists nine locations in Utah, plus one each in Odessa, Florida, and Bristol, Tennessee.