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Cronut creator Dominique Ansel defends himself against imitators, haters

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Dominique Ansel's new cronut is a cross between a croissant and doughnut. (Dominique Ansel)

Just how bad has the Cronut craze gotten?

Forget people wait in line for hours to get a taste of the much-sought-after pastry. Forget that the $5 Cronut is so popular that the bakery limits purchases to two per customer, or that a black market has sprung up, selling them at up to $40 a pop.  

Now it's getting really nasty. 

Cronut creator Dominique Ansel, owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City, has had to defended himself against all the Cronut copycats and haters out there.  Since the sweet treat was unveiled in May, there has been literally dozens of Cronut-like pastries invented under such creative names as "Doissants", "Crognets", "Dough'Ssants", and "Cro-Nots".  

"We've received threatening emails from associates and family members of infringers threatening to direct the public and third parties to not support the business of our small bakery for nothing more than vindictive purposes," said a spokeswoman from Dominique Ansel Bakery. "It is sad that when we are trying to be a responsible business owner to be met with such malicious acts from those that break the law."

Also, in the past month and a half, three applications have been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register Cronut-like products.

One was filed May 19 by Ansel, days after he unveiled his pastry, saying the trademark will be used for a wide range of bakery products. 

On June 10, Stephen Foung of Needham, Mass., filed an application to register “Cronut hole” as a trademark, to be used for retail bakery shops. 

One week later, on June 17 a third was filed by Najat Kaanache with Crystalline Management LLC of Irving Texas, who applied for a trademark for the term “Cronuts."

In a recent posting on Facebook, Ansel's staff went on the defensive, saying that the decision to trademark the Cronut was to protect “against the type of bullying that is taking place now.”

"It has sadly come to our attention today that there is a barrage misinformation being wrongfully spread about the nature of our Cronut™ trademark along with malicious attacks against our Chef. We felt it was important to take this time to clarify important information up front to you," the post reads.

The post goes on to say that his “desire to protect the name is not an attempt to claim or take credit for all cooking methods associated with the recipe or all croissant and doughnut products in general.”

The next step for Ansel would be to go to federal court to try and prove that these copycats are infringing on his trademark by offering products that could confuse customers into thinking it was a Cronut. 

"“Cronut holes” or spellings such as “Kronut” or “Croughnut” with the same pronounciation fall into that category of “confusingly similar”," says the bakery's spokeswoman. "And we will of course be actively and vigorously protecting our trademark from these attempted trademark cases.

And just in case you don't believe how insane the Cronut craze is, just check out this outrageous line for Crounuts posted by Huffington Post's Andy Campbell Wednesday morning.