In-N-Out Burger has filed a lawsuit alleging competitor Smashburger’s latest menu item infringes on the Southern California-based chain’s burger menu trademarks, according to the Orange Country Register. The complaint filed on August 28 in California claims that Smashburger’s “Triple Double” burger is too similar to In-N-Out’s Double-Double and Triple Triple (trademarked without the hyphen) burgers.
In-N-Out was founded in 1948 as a quick-service burger stand. While the chain is only found in six states, it has developed a cultish following worldwide. According to the filing, In-N-Out has held registered trademarks for its Double-Double since 1963 and the Triple Triple since 1966.
Smashburger was founded in 2007 in Denver, Colorado. It now operates more than 350 locations worldwide, including 36 in California. The chain introduced its “Triple Double” burger in July 2017. It’s made with two beef patties and three layers of cheese. By contrast, the In-N-Out Double-Double is served with two beef patties and two layers of American cheese, while the Triple Triple, or 3X3, is made with three patties and three slices of American cheese.
In-N-Out’s lawsuit argues that the similarity in names “is likely to confuse and mislead the consuming public, and injure In-N-Out, by causing consumers to believe incorrectly that Smashburger’s products originate from or are authorized by In-N-Out.”
In-N-Out is accusing Smashburger of trademark infringement and dilution of its trademarks as well as unfair competition, and is seeking an injunction and compensation. Eater has reached out to Smashburger for comment.
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In-N-Out is known for being protective of its brand and trademarks. In 2015, the family-owned company went after controversial delivery startup DoorDash. The burger chain accused the company of trademark infringement and unfair competition for advertising that it delivered food from In-N-Out restaurants. Similarly, in 2011, Maryland restaurant Grab-N-Go became the subject of an infringement lawsuit by In-N-Out for serving a “Wild Style Burger” that bared similarities to In-N-Out’s “Animal-style” burgers.