In-N-Out is suing an Australian restaurant chain for use of its trademark, the company announced last week.
A virtual restaurant called In & Out Aussie Burgers is accused of misleading customers on third-party delivery platforms Uber Eats and Menulog.
In & Out Aussie Burgers is owned and operated by Queensland-based RICH ASIANS pty. ltd. It does not own a brick-and-mortar store bearing the same name and has been on Uber Eats for several months in Australia.
Puneet Ahori, owner of In & Out Aussie Burgers, registered with name in May with the Australian Business Register, along with “IN-N-OUT AUSSIE BURGERS,” and “Over & Out Burgers.”
While the Australian company features an ampersand where the American company has the famous “N,” the logos both feature yellow arrows and prominently feature the color.
“The applicant [In-N-Out Burger] has suffered loss and damage and will, if the respondents are not permanently restrained, suffer further loss and damage,” lawyers for In-N-Out claimed in court filings.
According to The New Daily, In-N-Out asked Ahori to stop using the name several weeks before suing.
Local residents were confused by the brand as evidenced by social-media app Reddit where a thread called “PSA: In-N-Out Burger on Uber Eats is NOT In-N-Out Burger” gained traction when the brand first debuted. The thread has over 140 responses as of publication.
Last year, In-N-Out won a similar lawsuit in the “Land Down Under” against the Sydney chain Hashtag Burgers to stop using its “Down N’ Out” brand. The courts declared In-N-Out in the right and “Down N’ Out” had to cease operations and turn all assets over to In-N-Out.
In-N-Out has no permanent stores in Australia but it has conducted pop-up events on the continent for hungry fans.
The New Daily posits that these pop-ups are an attempt at retaining the trademark which must be used in a country once every three years.
"We cannot comment due to the fact that this matter involves ongoing litigation," In-N-Out told Nation's Restaurant News.
The Irvine, Calif.-based burger chain has a long history of taking potential trademark violators to court, both in the U.S. and overseas. In 2015, In-N-Out sued DoorDash for delivering the chain’s burgers without permission, citing trademark infringement and unfair competition.
There was an attempt at ghost kitchen regulation in localities like New York City and San Francisco before the COVID-19 pandemic but talks since then have not resumed. These cities were attempting to create more transparency on the apps for customers in instances of businesses stealing another’s name (like In-N-Out’s suit) or selling the same badly rated food under a new name.