In-N-Out Burger is back on the warpath, this time filing a lawsuit against an imitator in Boise, Idaho. A local restaurant named Burger Express recently opened there and everybody, from bloggers to the city's newspaper, keeps commenting on how it looks exactly like the West Coast burger chain, bearing a similar logo with a red-and-yellow color. That kind of move drives In-N-Out crazy, and the company is now threatening to sue the upstart for copyright infringement, reminding the Idaho Statesman of that time In-N-Out had to go kick a bunch of butt in Utah when a copycat named Chadder's appeared. But exterior design is not the only thing the burger giant is mad about.
While everyone can see that Burger Express is plainly ripping off In-N-Out's aesthetic, the astute California chain is getting all nitpicky about the food served at Burger Express, too. In the lawsuit filed July 9, In-N-Out contends, "Our information suggests that you have even copied In-N-Out's food presentation the burger partially wrapped with the side visible to the customer." Wow, you can't even wrap your burgers like In-N-Out does without enraging its team of lawyers! Scary.
The chain is giving Burger Express owner (and former Southern California burger flipper) Larry Squillace until August 5 to scrap his purloined design or face its animal-style wrath. Unfortunately, the timing is a little harsh, considering the man just lost his wife and says the changes could cost up to $37,000. Squillance vents, "This goliath company just wants to pop our bubble and take all our dreams and smash 'em." He even compares them to the Satanic M.O. at Wal-Mart, but still saves his worst for In-N-Out. "At least when Walmart comes to town, they crush the little guys, but they don't sue them out of business." Ouch!
And for an insta-second, we're almost on this guy's side. Shouldn't In-N-Out have better things to do than chase down imitators in Idaho (like finally opening a restaurant in New York)? But obviously, the famous chain can't have yahoos subverting their name or reputation. Despite what Squillance claims, the burger chain hasn't even sued the man yet and a company attorney states, "We are trying to resolve the matter amicably, and formal legal action has not been initiated."
So hey, they're not really bad guys, they're just looking out for their interests and protecting their legacy. Besides, with burgers like that, we can forgive In-N-Out almost anything.
In-N-Out has beef with Boises Burger Express [Idaho Statesman]