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Davidovich Bakery Files Federal Complaints to Halt Deceptive "Artisan" Claims Asserted by Dunkin Donuts

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Davidovich Bagels

Davidovich Bakery Files Federal Complaints to Halt Deceptive "Artisan" Claims Asserted by Dunkin Donuts

Woodside, NY April 17, 2012 – All Natural Products’ Davidovich Bakery has filed state and Federal Complaints seeking that Dunkin Brands dba Dunkin Donuts “cease and desist” the use of the ad campaign identifying it’s bagel products as “Artisan Bagels”. The complaints, filed with the Federal Trade Commission and NYS Attorney General assert: For Dunkin Donuts to use the term “Artisan” as the cornerstone of their campaign is patently deceptive and misleading to the public. The term is used to increase the marketability of the product by applying a label to it that does not match the characteristics of the manufacturing of the product. It creates the perception that their products are produced by hand, using traditional methods in small quantities. This is not the case. In addition to deceiving the public, the campaign devalues and dilutes the value of true Artisan products like those produced by our company and thousands of Artisan Bakers around the country. The public, as a result of the campaign, will cease to understand the true meaning of the term and its proper application-this is cause for great confusion and harm. 

Davidovich Bakery’s complaints seek an immediate cessation (within seventy-two hours) of the use of the term Artisan in association with their bagels including all television commercials, video features, print media, in and out of store advertising, internet databases, search engine optimization databases and similarly situated material. 

The complaints also demand a statement be issued acknowledging that these retractions have been accomplished and that no further use of the term will be used to describe their bagel products.

All Natural Products Davidovich Bakery is one of the leading bakers and distributors of Artisan Baked goods, including the world famous Davidovich Bagels. For further information, contact Marc Fintz at 212-391-2870.

Comments

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I suspect that the lawsuit will benefit the lawyers involved more than it will anyone else.  Unless the terms "artisan" and "artisanal" have been codified (as opposed to being defined in dictionaries), it's going to be an uphill battle.  It's not unlike the way producers sling the term "organic" around, even though there is now a legal definition for the term.

Since I have no knowledge of Davidovich's process for making bagels, I hope that they don't find themselves in the position of the pot who called the kettle black.

Paul

LindyD's picture
LindyD

From what I read in that self-serving silly press release, it appears that Davidovich just filed complaints with the FTC and NY attorney general versus hiring attorneys to file a lawsuit in the United States District Court, where they would be required to file.  Postage is cheaper than lawyers and filing online complaints with state and federal agencies even cheaper than postage.  

Now, if the FTC or AG’s office happens to check Black's Law Dictionary, they’ll find “artisan” defined as:

"One skilled in some kind of trade, craft, or art requiring manual dexterity; e.g. a carpenter, plumber, tailor, mechanic."  O’Clair v. Hale, 25 Misc. Rep. 31, 54 N. Y. Supp. 386; Amazon Irr. Co. v. Briesen, 1 Kan. App. 758, 41 Pac. 1116.

Cursory legal research will pop up all kinds of references to "artisan," including the Texas Constitution actually defining the word.  The courts have held artisan to mean:

“one skilled in some kind of mechanical craft; one who is employed in an industrial or mechanic art or trade,” or “[o]ne trained for manual dexterity in some mechanic art or trade; a handicraftsman; a mechanic .” See Warner Mem’ l Univ ., 56 S W2d at 23.

The word artisan is grossly misused (I've even come across "artisan carrots" in the veggie department).  It's really not about what a product is called, but the skill of who is creating the product and I doubt that Davidovich's bakers are any more skilled than the bakers working for their competition, Dunkin Donuts.  

Davidovich Bagels's picture
Davidovich Bagels

While you are on the right track in defining Artisan you miss the fact that it is the process we are describing not the skill upon which it is executed.  Davidovich uses old world, traditional Artisan methods to create a product with human beings and not with automation.  Dunkin Donuts products may be a lot of things but not Artisan.  They chose the language and they should be accountable to the government.  The equalizing factor here is that we have to sue they can outspend us clearly-it shouldn't be a contest of money but of truth

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

as defined by the Supreme Court allows anyone, to say just about anything , about what ever they want - even if they are lying, making it up or just having fun.  That is what makes this country great. You have no case.  You're not trying to stop someone from exercising their free speech rights are you?  That might be illegal and damages may be awarded if financial harm is done to someone because you tried to stop them from saying what ever they want as they are certainly allowed to do.  Hope you have deep pockets to fight off someone who does - and can prove financial damages.  It will be fun to watch.

How is that old world traditional mixer working out for you? 

Bake On.

Davidovich Bagels's picture
Davidovich Bagels

Protected Speech does not include False Representations or lying, especially in advertising.   If they said they were "gluten free" and they weren't would your argument be the same?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

lying.  They have way more trained artisan bakers on staff to prove it than you can count.  They can claim by education, training and experience that they are just as artisan as anyone at Davidovich Bagles.  Better to bake a good product and sell it to a customer that wants to pay for it than picking a fight you can't win.

Davidovich Bagels's picture
Davidovich Bagels

The facts are that you can hire 1 million Artisan Bakers to work for you and it doesn't make you Artisan.  Artisan is a process.  It is not a taste.  It is not a recipe.  It is not a look.  It is a process.  When we try to ascribe different meanings to a word just to create a more favorable image of a product it is wrong.  Whether Davidovich is Artisan or not doesn't change Dunkin Donuts responsibility to be fair and honest.  They are a huge, publically traded company.  I see you are a big fan of DD; regardless, shouldn't they have more respect for the public than to just use the words they want instead of the ones that apply.  They could have said "best", "gourmet", "delicious" but they didn't.  They chose the word Artisan because it has a certain response from the public.  That was their choice-not mine.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

true make even the most experienced person fail.  I am not a big fan of DD.  I think their coffee is OK.  Their food is not very good even though they make a lot of money at it.  So your assumption was wrong about me and what I think of DD.  I too think they need to be taken to task for claiming more than what they provide.  Because no one made a stand against those who wished to lower the standard and meaning of artisan and artisanal to reflect their needs to make money, these words have little to do with their traditional meaning established over thousands of years - a craftsman who is well trained, experienced and talented enough to create, with his own hands,  a product that is considered art in his trade.

My point to you was that if you use machines to make your bread you too, like DD, don't fit the definition of artisan or artisanal because you only meet 2 of the 3 requirements while DD only meets one.  You may well be a Certified Master Baker who makes the best bagels around and I'm guessing you are but artisan - probably not.  I too applaud you for taking these marketing lawyers at DD on but I would rather see you and others take steps that that are more likely to succeed without putting yourself in legal danger and financial stress.

As you well know in life or business, it takes all kinds of good character attributes to be successful.  Being fair, decent and honest are but three of hundreds.  But it only takes 1 of 3 bad character attributes to fail every time and they are - Fear, Pride and Ego.  You have no fear to be sure, which is good, but don't let your pride get in the way of doing the things it really takes for success in all things.

DD knows that artisanal and artisan can mean anything they want it to mean today since the gatekeepers responsible for protecting the once well known and accepted meaning, developed over thousands of years, have let the meaning of these words be reduced to meaning at best -  virtually nothing.

Do not assume that DD needs to be honest and fair with their customers.  They think they are fair, decent and honest.  It is just that their definition of fair, decent and honest no longer may fit your definition. The meaning of those words, as they once were accepted to mean, has been changed to fit the needs of folks claiming to be these things but just want to make money off of them instead.

We can win this fight but not in the courts.  They can be shamed into backing down though.  The real gate keepers, their potential customers can be organized to successfully take on DD.  Let DD's pride and ego make them fail instead.  They can't win and will soon realize it.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

It's the baker that's the artisan, not what's been baked.  That's the misconception held by many folks and one you are fostering with your complaints.  

Unfortunately, the word artisan is the most over and misused word around as it is applied to products, not people.  We  have "artisan" carrots, tomato paste, and even ham!  The marketing label has  become meaningless and because of that, I don't think you will be successful with your complaints to the FTC or AG.   There's probably a paper cup on one of their desks, carrying a label of "artisan" coffee.

Nor is a person who is considered an artisan required to completely handcraft his/her product.  The artisans who work at Tiffany's creating their fabulous jewelry certainly use machinery in their craft.   

Given your production numbers, I'm certain that Davidovich is using mixers and mechanical means for the kettling process.   That's automation.   Your website and videos show the dough being hand rolled, but nothing about the process or the ingredients.  Dunkin most likely uses forming machines and steam, rather than boil, the bagels.  

As a former New Yorker, I know what a good bagel tastes like and that's why I make my own: high gluten flour, water, salt, yeast, and diastatic malt.   At 58% hydration, machine mixed - but handrolled and boiled in water containing barley malt syrup when they come out of the cooler.  Four ounces each.

After looking at the ingredients in a Dunkin D bagel, I know your bagels have to be better (unless you're using artificial flavoring, etc.), so rather than tilting at windmills, why not take them on with the ingredients in your advertising?

If given a choice between a bagel containing five natural ingredients over one with stuff like high fructose corn syrup, glycerol, safflower oil, calcium lactate, potassium sorbate, etc., etc., most consumers will go with the natural ingredients.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

...

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I couldn't care less about "truth", absolute or relative. I just want a good bagel. That's my relative "good" of  course.

David G

Davidovich Bagels's picture
Davidovich Bagels
Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

I agree you don't have a chance in court.  Don't waste your money on lawyers.  Do a public out cry like on facebook or other protest sites and shame them into dropping their advertisements.  Or just wait a minute and a new promotion will come by.  They have the worlds worst coffee by the way.  Also their food sucks.

Now then daviovich who was the machine rolling those bagels in the video?  Most impressive.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

But their coffee is ok.

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

YUCK!!!   nasty coffee.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

disagrees with you.  It is hard comparing a $1 cup of coffee witha $3 one.

  • Today, Dunkin' Donuts is America's largest retailer of coffee-by-the-cup, serving nearly 1.5 billion cups of brewed coffee each year.
  • On an average day, Dunkin' Donuts sells more than 30 cups of freshly brewed coffee each second.
  • Dunkin' Donuts uses 100-percent Arabica coffee beans and has its own coffee specifications, which are recognized by the industry as a superior grade of coffee. Based on Dunkin' Donuts Quality (DDQ) specifications, coffee is milled and processed specifically for the company.
  • Dunkin' Donuts team of experts carefully oversees its coffee to ensure a consistently high quality cup - from the coffee cherries on the farm to the precise standards for brewing and serving Dunkin' Donuts coffee in stores.
  • As coffee is viewed more and more as a commodity, Dunkin' Donuts Tree-to-Cup program is a revolutionary approach to coffee management. The company proactively establishes and monitors stringent specifications for quality starting at the coffee farms and throughout the entire coffee production process.

They're being the largest doesn't make them the best - just popular with average American's and it is ok to not like their coffee and prefer another.  Their coffee success speaks for itself and they know they can't please everyone.

 They also claim their bagels are artisan and few agree with that!

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

as bagels go would not be good to someone else.  That is the great thing about variety, differing opinions and different tastes.  They say art is in the eye of the beholder.  Well, then bagels are 'artisan' and good in the mouth of the one eating it.   Some folks like what I call light and airy cake bagels and some like NY style dense, chewy ones.  Some like SD and some like spinach and cheese ones.  All are good and can be made by the same artisan baker if he is smart and his clientele varied.

It is better to make good bagels than complain about someone else's that effect you in no way and cause you no harm.   For me its not a decent bagel unless there is CC and lox on it - no matter who makes it :-)

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...and, for the record, I'm a New York bagel fan. A lovely lady, with a voice "like buttah" introduced me to my first NY bagel. It was love at first bite, the bagel, not the lady.

David G

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

SFSD and NY bagels are tough to beat in my book.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

Agreed that DB has a snowball's chance in hell of prevailing. Agreed - emphatically - that DD's "bagels" are a travesty and an offense to anyone who knows and cares about what a bagel is, not just culinarily, but historically.

That said, DD without doubt has a legal department that vets everything going out under its name for litigation potential well before it gets the corporate imprimatur. As for deep pockets, DD is the largest seller of "bagels" in the world - far larger than Lender's and chains like Bruegger's and Noah's/Einstein Bros. Read this and weep.

DD is the perfect example of the corporate "value-added food processor" whose focus-grouped products represent a lowest common denominator and whose business is driven by aggressive marketing and equally aggressive margin expansion - i.e., the difference between what something costs to make and what it sells for - with no respect for the integrity or traditions behind its products, or the education and refinement of its media-manipulated customers.

Someone has to start confronting DD and their ilk, and I applaud DB for that. Perhaps if enough of us voted with our pocketbooks and made our dissatisfactions known, the DDs of the world would come around.

However, I'm not optimistic. As H.L. Mencken once observed, "No one ever lost money understimating the intelligence of the American public."

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com
www.insidethejewishbakery.com

And PS: With the exception of places like Davidovich and Murray's, who still hand-roll low hydration, five-ingredient dough and boil before baking, there is no such thing as a New York bagel, no matter where it's baked or marketed. Technology and mass marketing have completely taken over. SG

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

I had a friend who had a saying on his desk where his name plate used to be that said Low Price, Quality and Service - you can only get 2 of the 3.  It recognized that if people really want a low price they have to give up quality or service.  If they want quality they have to either give up service or low price.  That is just the way things are it seems when it comes to making money.  Wish it wasn't so though.

JoeV's picture
JoeV

I'm certainly entertained at the lively debate over this topic. I'm one of the oddballs who doesn't care for DD coffee, but I'm also odd in that on the rare occasions that I actually purchase a bagel (usually when traveling), I have found that there are no bad bagels, just BETTER bagels produced by the big chain stores like DD and Breuggers, et al. I also believe that if any food comes from a facility with more than 25 employees, it qualifies as "Factory Made" and loses its Artisnal definition. JMHO, of course, and no offense to the OP and their process. Yeah, yeah, you can say natural ingredients and old world craftsmanship till the cows come home, but at the end of the day its nothing more than a production facility where you crank out a quantity of "X" to feed the masses who cannot or will not make product "X" for themself, and do it according to the gubmit's rules and regulations, not necessarily your own guidelines. At the end of the day it's a business, not a craft, complete with a P&L reconciliation, that survives or suffers at the hands of their customers choice of who makes a product to THEIR liking.

JMHO, YMMV.

 

Joe