South Tampa mini doughnut craze spawns lawsuit

- Two South Tampa doughnut shops are involved in a legal battle over allegations of trademark infringement related to the name of both shops.

Mini Doughnut Factory on Dale Mabry Highway is suing its neighbor on West Kennedy Boulevard Little Donut House, formerly named Mini Donut Mill.

That name is what prompted the lawsuit, according to the complaint filed in county court last week.

The lawsuit alleges the Stephen Schab, the owner of Mini Donut Mill, opened his store with a name so similar and in such close proximity, Mini Doughnut Factory's business has suffered. The complaint also alleges Schab approached Mini Doughnut Factory owner Patrick Ruddell and asked to franchise his business.

Ruddell told Schab no, and according to the lawsuit, Schab opened his business to "wrongfully take from the plaintiff that which it could not purchase.  

Intellectual property attorney Alejandro Fernandez, of Brinks, Gilson & Lione, told FOX 13 trademark lawsuits like this one are common. Fernandez expects the two parties to settle, given the recent name change of Mini Donut Mill to Little Donut House.

Schab told FOX 13 the name change was a business decision and would not comment on the lawsuit. Mini Doughnut Factory also would not comment on the litigation. Battle over mini donuts leads to lawsuit

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