Nadia Liu Spellman, the owner of Dumpling Daughter in Weston, Massachusetts, has filed a federal lawsuit against Dumpling Girl in Millbury, accusing the establishment of stealing dozens of recipes from Spellman’s family.
According to the lawsuit, when Spellman opened Dumpling Daughter in 2014, her family’s recipes were only known to three people: Spellman, her mother, and her kitchen manager.
Dumpling Girl, which opened this summer and employs two people who once worked for Spellman, is accused of lifting the recipes for 41 items out of its 52-item menu directly from Dumpling Daughter.
Of the three people named in the suit, two of them, Jie Lin and Ying Yao Xiong, worked at Dumpling Daughter prior to the opening of their new restaurant as a dumpling chef and assistant to Spellman, respectively.
Among the accusations leveled against the rival restaurant, the staff is accused of opening “a virtual clone of Dumpling Daughter with the confusingly similar name, Dumpling Girl, in the same area as Dumpling Daughter, offering dishes and a menu which are virtually identical to that of Dumpling Daughter down to its color scheme and punctuation, and which uses proprietary, trade secrets misappropriated from Dumpling Daughter.”
The defendants are accused of trademark infringement and unfair competition, from which they have received “unjust enrichment,” according to the suit.
The lawsuit also states that the defendants have “completely ignored” two cease and desist letters from Spellman’s attorneys, and have even bragged about their intent to copy the Dumpling Daughter concept “without consequences since Dumpling Daughter ‘can chase me for years because the LLC [Dumpling Girl] doesn’t have any money.’”