Aussie burger joint Down N’ Out is taking US burger chain In-N-Out back to court for a phase two of its original beef. It feels like something’s in the water lately with burger joints battling it out over disputes, but hey, who am I to complain about a good ole fast feud.
In February this year, Down N’ Out owners Benjamin Kagan and Andrew Saliba lost their court case against the burger giant, and were forced to completely change their name, which ultimately became “Nameless Bar”. Federal Court Justice Anna Katzmann ruled that the name was far too similar to operate, and infringed upon trademark.
Now the boys are taking In-N-Out back to court to challenge the ruling made by Justice Katzmann, and have backed themselves up with some technicalities that they hope will win the judge over this time around.
On Monday, Barrister Richard Lancaster told the Federal Court that the original ruling focused too much on the “N-Out” part, as opposed to the “Down” and the “In”. Sure, it’s a very specific technicality to harp on, but alas, a barrister does what a barrister must do.
“There is a difference between the phrase In-N-Out burger, which suggests a fast-service provision of hamburgers, than Down N’ Out, which has quite a different meaning,” Barrister Lancaster argued.
“Down N’ Out describes a single condition, In-N-Out describes a progression.”
See what I mean, ultra-specific, but you can definitely see his point. The two names insinuate different things.
Barrister Lancaster then went on to describe the Aussie burger joint as having a name which purposely channels an essence of “destitution, grunginess and urban decay”, whereas In-N-Out is a name that implies speedy service and quick fast-food dining. The only thing that is really in common is the “N-Out” part.
“Fowler’s Modern English tells us ‘and’ can have different functions in different circumstances,” he said in court.
Look, you can’t argue with that kinda logic.
In-N-Out’s barrister Christian Dimitriadis, on the other hand, approached the issue with a matter-of-fact approach, making it clear that although the Aussie burger joint may claim to only be a startup, whereas In-N-Out is a huge fast-food chain in America, they were still very much eligible of infringing upon trademark law.
This case is sure to be going on for some time, so we’ll keep you updated when something new happens in this burger war.