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Ask almost anyone what a donut is and they’ll most likely describe it as a round pastry that’s fried and then usually glazed with sugar and sometimes various toppings, such as frosting and/or sprinkles. The definition usually consists of a hole in the center, unless the pastry is filled, but two bakeries have started making square donuts and are now fighting over the name “Square Donuts.”

A bakery in Terre Haute, Indiana (called “Square Donuts”) has been making donuts in a box-like form since the 1960s. When Family Express, a convenience store based out of Valparaiso, Indiana, started making their own square donuts in 2005, the Square Donuts sent a cease and desist letter, saying the name “square donuts” was proprietary.

Family Express responded that they did not think their use of the term “square donuts” constituted infringement. They didn’t hear back from Square Donuts so they continued making their box-like pastries. Family Express markets these oddly-shaped donuts on their website as one of their main offerings, saying they’re made every day before being delivered to all their outlets. They even posted a video that shows how the donuts are made, including a machine that cuts the pastries into squares.

The company talks up its oddly-shaped donuts as a unique attraction, despite the fact it has turned out that the shape of their donuts is not so unique after all. In fact, Family Express was about forty years behind another the Terre Haute-based bakery in making and marketing donuts in a new shape. Far from being the first to think of this, Family Express isn’t even the first in the state to make and advertise square donuts, much less the first in the country. Continue reading ›

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