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Irvine-based In-N-Out Burger filed a trademark infringement lawsuit Monday, Aug. 28 against Denver-based Smashburger, claiming the fast food rival’s “Smashburger Triple Double” is too similar to its famed “Double Double” burger.
“Smashburger’s use of the Triple Double and Smashburger Triple Double marks 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,” the lawsuit states.

The Southern California institution, whose large fan base is the envy of its rivals, said In-N-Out owns multiple trademarks for its various sandwiches. Some trademarks were obtained more than 40 years ago.

“Since at least as early as 1963, In-N-Out has continuously used its registered DOUBLE-DOUBLE trademark in connection with hamburger sandwiches in interstate commerce. Since at least as early as 1966, In-N-Out has continuously used its registered TRIPLE TRIPLE trademark in connection with hamburger sandwiches in interstate commerce,” the lawsuit stated.

Smashburger was founded in Denver in 2007. The chain has grown quickly, entering Orange County in 2012. It has three locations in Orange County. The better burger concept is known for using gourmet toppings such as goat cheese, truffle mayonnaise and mini portabella mushrooms.

Smashburger, like In-N-Out, also uses toasted and lightly buttered sponge-dough buns. Launched in mid-July, Smashburger’s Triple Double features two burger patties and three slices of cheese.

“This will be Smashburger’s new iconic menu item, providing three times the cheese and double the beef in every bite,” chain co-founder Tom Ryan said in a statement this summer.
The privately held In-N-Out has a reputation for fiercely protecting its brand from copycats. In the past, they have sued restaurants for using similar decor, uniforms and logos — which are all protected under the company’s trademark portfolio.

Written by Nancy Luna OC Register

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