After three years in court a judge has ruled that Hungry Jack’s “Big Jack” burger does not breach the trademark of McDonald’s famous “Big Mac” burger, in what history will officially remember as the Lamest Food Fight Ever.
Back in 2020, Hungry Jack’s was taken to court by Macca’s on the grounds that its new products the “Big Jack” and “Mega Jack” were both clearly stepping on Macca’s toes, infringing on its existing trademark.
As well as the similar names, the new menu item by HJ’s shared a striking resemblance to Macca’s world renowned burger, featuring similar ingredients — sesame buns, double layers of lettuce, sauce and meat separated by additional bun, and a disgusting gherkin (fight me).
Lawyers for HJ’s defended this by saying burgers having any physical similarities would be because they share “common characteristics of hamburgers”.
Take a look and make a call for yourself:
In a milestone for the three year federal case Justice Stephen Burley ruled on Thursday that the “Big Jack is not deceptively similar to Big Mac.”
“As a consequence, McDonald’s has not established that the impugn use of the Hungry Jack’s trademarks infringes its registered trademarks,” Burley assessed, which is a massive dub for Hungry Jack’s.
However, HJ’s did not walk away without any trouble. Burley also ruled it had been misleading in a cheeky follow up commercial that was released in response to Macca’s legal battle-of-the-burgers.
In a commercial that came out in September 2020, HJ’s made fun of the fact that it was being sued by its primary competition, claiming that its burger was clearly different as it had “25 per cent more Aussie beef” when compared to its competitor’s product.
This claim of larger size was disputed in court by Macca’s lawyers, who brought in two experts to clarify that this selling point was misleading and untrue.
It is worth noting that one of these experts holds a PHD in analytical chemistry, and I love to imagine how the phone call to pitch that job went down:
“Hello doctor. You’ve done at least eight years of hardcore study in your field which, and are amongst the top one per cent in the world in your chosen science… can you weigh a burger for us? It’s for legal reasons. Here’s an NDA. Would you like fries with that?”
It turns out that the “Big Jack” meat patties were at most an average of 15 per cent larger than that of the “Big Mac”.
This was far short of its advertorial claim, and therefore breached Section 18 of the Australian Consumer Law: “a person must not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.”
Which does mean that this follow-up ad from Hungry Jack’s has aged like milk.
Macca’s hopes for the unusual case was that Hungry Jack’s would be forced to destroy all advertisements and history of the “Big Jack” and “Mega Jack”.
Hungry Jack’s argued it was pretty far fetched to believe anyone would get the two burgers confused, given they are exclusively sold in separate stores.
Justice Hurley has ordered the two companies to discuss with each other to resolve the matter, before he provides his final judgement.
Hopefully they both agree to call it a day, quit throwing food at each other, and bring the prices of their soft serves back down to 30 cents. Hell I’d settle for 50 cents. And while they’re at it, frozen drinks shouldn’t cost more than a dollar. Bloody sick of it.