MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Ma’s Donuts in New Bedford, which closed in 2016, will soon be cranking out doughnuts once again, but under a new name.
The owners decided in February that they were going to revive their business, but later learned Ma’s Donuts and More in Middletown had trademarked the name in 2017.
In a Facebook post Thursday, the owners of the New Bedford shop claimed the Middletown shop, “took the liberty of trying to capitalize on the Ma’s Donuts name.”
Val Leite, the owner of the Middletown shop, said when he learned the New Bedford shop would be reopening, he gave the owners a call to inform them of the $5,000 trademark.
12 News spoke with one of the owners of the New Bedford shop, Scott Lemieux, regarding the situation. He described Leite’s phone call as threatening,
But Leite said that was not his intent.
“I’m sorry but that’s not true at all,” Leite said. “I didn’t threaten him at all. I just told him what we had and he said ‘Well, we were here first and that’s unfair.'”
Ma’s Donuts in New Bedford opened in 1955, while Ma’s Donuts and More opened in 1993. Leite said he takes pride in his business and doesn’t plan on changing his stance.
“When you put a [Facebook] post up, and nobody knows the difference between Ma’s Donuts in New Bedford and Ma’s Donuts in Middletown, it becomes hard,” Leite explained, adding that customers had been confused in the past as to where their orders were coming from.
Leite provided 12 News with the cease and desist letter his lawyer sent to Lemieux, which demanded he not use the name Ma’s Donuts, or anything similar, upon reopening the business.
The New Bedford shop said while they don’t plan on using their old name, “No one will ever beat the taste and feel of our classic donuts.”
“We are incredibly saddened by this unfortunate event, but we promise to stick to our roots and provide you all with the classic real donut shop taste, smell and feel you all deserve,” their Facebook post reads.
Lemieux said they plan on operating their new shop out of the original building, though they haven’t settled on an opening date just yet. He said right now, they’re working with Fun 107 to solicit new name ideas from their loyal fan base.