30 August 2017Trademarks

Smashburger feels the heat over ‘triple double’ burger

Fast-food chain In-N-Out Burger has sued rival Smashburger for trademark infringement, alleging that its  “triple double” burger infringes the “double double” trademark.

The case was filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Monday, August 28.

In the complaint, In-N-Out Burger accused Smashburger of wilfully infringing its registered mark to cause confusion among consumers.

The “triple double” burger from Smashburger contains three slices of cheese and two “handcrafted seasoned smashburgers”, while the “double double” has two slices of cheese with two burger patties.

In-N-Out owns a number of registered trademarks for its range of burgers, including California registration number 2539 for the “double-double”, registered in 1973.

It also stated that Smashburger’s model has a similar price and therefore causes further confusion.

Smashburger filed four intent-to-use applications for the “triple double” with the US Patent and Trademark Office in November last year, but In-N-Out opposed them in June.

“Defendant’s infringement creates a likelihood of consumer confusion because actual and prospective customers are likely to believe that In-N-Out has approved or licensed Smashburger’s use of its marks,” Smashburger stated.

In-N-Out is seeking injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.

In a statement, Smashburger CEO Tom Ryan said he was “flattered” by the attention shown by In-N-Out.

“To date, Smashburger’s triple double is posting double-digit traffic and sales increases for the ten-year-old Smashburger brand,” he said.

“The triple double burger is clearly popular with our customers and is not comparable to any In-N-Out menu offering.

“We invite all burger lovers to taste the Smashburger triple double and decide for themselves,” he concluded.

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