American burger lords In-N-Out is suing an Australia business for copyright infringement and misleading conduct after it was found to be selling burgers across multiple delivery apps from dark or ‘ghost’ kitchens across Queensland.
Per The Age, the cult-favourite burger chain has taken businessman Puneet Ahori and the wider Rich Asians Pty Ltd to the Federal Court, claiming the company misrepresented itself as In-N-Out, deceiving customers into thinking it was the popular American chain’s products.
The accused chain has been selling food through Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Menulog in at least four locations across Queensland, with dark kitchens in Chermside, Zillmere, Balmoral, and Morayfield.
Barrister Megan Evetts, the legal representative for In-N-Out (the American one), claimed that the Australian kitchens initially used the name ‘In-N-Out Aussie Burgers’, but once they were served with a cease and desist, they changed their name to ‘In & Out Aussie Burgers’.
She also alleged that before the name change, the restaurants were also using logos on delivery apps that copied the iconic American brand’s one, and noted that the Australian group’s current branding still includes a yellow arrow. She also said the slight name change is an insufficient amount of difference.
Mr Ahori, who chose to represent himself at the court appearance on Wednesday, said he had made a public statement to distance the Australian stores from the US chain, and doesn’t agree that any copyright infringement has been made.
“My logo is ‘In & Out Aussie Burgers’,” he said.
“I’m a small operator in Queensland, and they’re basically pressuring me to de-register all the names I have.”
He then shot himself in the foot spectacularly by clarifying that the name was in fact used at five different locations, not the initial four that the American brand’s lawyers had originally believed.
The Federal Court judge suggested to Mr Ahori – who is not a lawyer – that seeking legal advice would be beneficial before the next court date, as the case involves “technical areas of law”. Mr Ahori said that he will do his best to research how to prepare his defence ahead of its due date in two weeks, and the next court date in September if mediation is unsuccessful.
Bloody good luck to ya, mate. Might need it.