It’s All About The Mochi Muffin!

SF Eater

On Sunday, June 5, the owners of Berkeley’s Third Culture Bakery, Sam Butarbutar and Wentner Shyu, took to their company’s Instagram to air out some feelings about recent reporting by local mediaIn the post, the husband-and-husband founders share “specifics that were not included in the article,” appearing to refer to a story that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 1 about cease and desist letters sent on behalf of the company to numerous bakeries around the country.

Third Culture Bakery, Sam Butarbutar and Wentner Shyu,

According to the Chronicle story, the couple owns the trademark for the words “mochi muffin” and have been known to reach out to businesses, such as CA Bakehouse, to ensure others don’t sell items with the same name. The post explains the couple’s reasons for protecting Butarbutar’s mochi muffin through legal recourse, and challenges that the two had ever threatened “to shut down a small business,” the post reads. Further, the two say they never sued anyone over the trademark or asked for payments from any individuals.

The couple shares that they’ve “severed ties with all legal representation” and plan to “reevaluate what it means to own such a trademark,” per the post. Since the articles ran last week, everyone from stalwart fans of the pastry to those who have never heard of the dessert item have been witness to this back-and-forth, which has unfolded largely on social media. Those critical of the bakery and its trademark have been leaving negative Yelp reviews and calling the business repeatedly, per the couple’s post, which also implies angry individuals shared Butarbutar and Shyu’s personal information online.