Animal-Style v. Cali-Style: The Better Burger Battle

Caliburger-Seattle-03-1024x683By Kelsey O’Neal

Everyone who has been to Southern California has probably seen a bright yellow arrow pointing to the promise of the ultimate meal: a double-double, animal style fries, and a Neapolitan shake. Where does the arrow point? In-N-Out Burger. The company typically stayed within a certain radius of its original store in Baldwin Park, CA, and it wasn’t until 2011 that it opened a restaurant in Texas. In-N-Out has been notoriously slow to expand. So, it must have been a shock for the residents of Shanghai to see animal style burgers in the Jing An Temple District in 2011. However the force behind the new store was not In-N-Out, but rather Caliburger, LLC, a Diamond Bar, CA-based company that trademarked In-N-Out’s menu items in Asia and Eastern Europe. In-N-Out wasted no time; it sued Caliburger in Santa Ana, California. The two companies settled, and the settlement was likely contingent on Caliburger’s willingness to change its menu. (For example, a “double-double” is now a “Cali-double,” and “animal style fries” became “wild fries,” which then morphed into “Cali-style fries.”) Continue reading

“Don’t Copy My Style!” Exxon’s Trademark “Style” Infringement Claim Against Fox

exxonBy Chike Eze

Consumers associate a trademark with a familiar experience associated with a specific source. For example, consumers associate the “golden arches” symbol with McDonald’s cheeseburgers and fries. To protect such profitable associations, an owner of a well-known trademark may file for federal registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). USPTO requires the trademark owner, among other things, to police its mark by challenging others who impermissibly copy and use the mark. Therefore, it is not particularly newsworthy that Exxon Mobil Corporation (“Exxon”), an owner of several federally-registered trademarks, brought a complaint against 21st Century Fox et. al. (“Fox”) alleging federal trademark infringement, inter alia. However, Exxon makes an unusual argument that Fox infringed Exxon’s marks by copying the marks’ common “style.” Continue reading