'Fried dough is only about love': BeaverTails trademark dispute earns $3K for Calgary Food Bank
'We all have to do damage control in our lives,' says Calgary food blogger Julie Van Rosendaal
"BeaverTail" or "Canadian Semiaquatic Rodent Posterior Doughnut"? A very Canadian dispute over what to call the popular flat doughnut-like pastry has turned into an unexpected windfall for a food bank.
For Canada Day 2016, Calgary-based food blogger and CBC columnist Julie Van Rosendaal posted a recipe called "Homemade Beaver Tails." Van Rosendaal wrote it was a trademarked name and linked to the website of BeaverTails, a company that started in Ottawa in 1978.
But BeaverTails said Van Rosendaal was violating its trademark and asked her to change the name. So she took out "tail" and called them "Beaver Doughnuts."
This week, Van Rosendaal received another email from the company, saying the word "beaver" was too similar to the trademark and could create confusion in the marketplace.
After tossing around suggestions such as "Rodent Rump" and Latin for the critter, "castor canadensis," she ultimately changed the name of her recipe to "Canadian Semiaquatic Rodent Posterior Doughnut."
The quirky name quickly gained traction on social media.
The subsequent social media storm came to a close when BeaverTails apologized on Twitter Thursday.
As Calgary blogger <a href="https://twitter.com/dinnerwithjulie?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@dinnerwithjulie</a> so wisely put it, “fried dough is only about love”. If you agree, retweet! For every retweet this gets over the next 24 hours, BeaverTails will donate $1 to <a href="https://twitter.com/CalgaryFoodBank?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@calgaryfoodbank</a> (up to $2500). <a href="https://t.co/giL6aRtjXa">pic.twitter.com/giL6aRtjXa</a>—@BeaverTails
"As Calgary blogger @dinnerwithjulie so wisely put it, 'fried dough is only about love,'" BeaverTails tweeted, paraphrasing Van Rosendaal.
"If we have ever gone too far during our endeavour to preserve the brand name, we sincerely apologize for this lapse of judgment."
The company also tweeted it that it doesn't think it owns the word "beaver."
BeaverTails to donate more than originally promised
BeaverTails offered to donate $1 for every retweet — up to $2,500 — to the Calgary Food Bank.
In less than 24 hours, that goal was met and exceeded.
BeaverTails tweeted Friday morning that it had been blown away by the more than 2,700 retweets it had received and would be donating $3,000 to the food bank.
Wow! Incredible demonstration of community- thank you to everyone who helped raise $ for <a href="https://twitter.com/CalgaryFoodBank?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@calgaryfoodbank</a>! We’re blown away by the 2.7k+ retweets we received so we’re rounding up and donating $3000 to this fantastic organization <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FriedDoughLove?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FriedDoughLove</a> <a href="https://t.co/Qj9zHuSnbw">pic.twitter.com/Qj9zHuSnbw</a>—@BeaverTails
"This is really turned into a positive," Calgary Food Bank spokesperson Shawna Ogston told the Calgary Eyeopener. "We're so pleased but we're so sorry this had to happen to Julie. We love her."
The Calgary Food Bank, through bulk buying and other techniques, is able to maximize monetary donations, Ogston said.
- Listen to the full story of how a pastry raised food bank donations:
For example, often a $1 donation can buy $5 worth of groceries, so the food bank uses those to add fresh produce and proteins to food hampers.
"That will go a long way, especially at this time of year, and when we're doing — for example, last December we did over 8,000 hampers — this is going to go a long way," Ogston said.
Blogger says BeaverTail 'handled it really well'
As for Van Rosendaal, she said she's thinking about keeping the new name and has accepted the company's apology.
"I thought they were genuine. They handled it really well. There's too many things to be outraged about right now," she told the Eyeopener.
"And they sent me a really nice email, too, that said, 'Oh, we went too far.' We all have to do damage control in our lives and I think they handled it really well."
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With files from the Calgary Eyeopener