According to the publication, In-N-Out claims Down N’ Out—which has two locations in Sydney and Top Ryde, Australia—has been infringing on their trademark. On Down N’ Out’s website, their slogan reads, “American-style burgers, done right,” and in an Instagram post from 2017, the restaurant appears to use red and yellow coloring for an advertisement, which is the same coloring as In-N-Out’s logo.
The beloved California-based burger chain reportedly filed the lawsuit in October 2017 against Hashtag Burgers, Down N’ Out’s parent company, citing similarities in the use of Down N’ Out’s name and logo. The demands of the lawsuit are that Hashtag Burgers change the burger restaurant’s name, and pay In-N-Out any profits made under the Down-N’-Out franchise or pay damages.
In-N-Out is well-known in America for its secret menu items such as a Neapolitan shake, “animal-style” burgers (they grill the patty in mustard), and a 4×4 burger with 4 patties topped with cheese wedged in a bun. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that in the lawsuit, In-N-Out accuses Down N’ Out of having a similar business model and offering a secret menu as well.
Although In-N-Out prides itself on its not-so-secret menu, their traditional menu offers relatively simple, quality food: double-doubles, cheeseburgers, hamburgers, fries and shakes. According to Down N’ Out’s menu, they offer a doubles, singles, chicken, vego, and a weekly special, which according to Instagram, included burgers like a macaroni-and cheese topped patty and a burger made with Hot Cheetos. Down N’ Out also offers a “Tiger-style” add-on, where the burger has caramelized onions and a “mustard grilled patty.”
The Herald also reports that In-N-Out has offered “pop up” restaurants in Australia since 2012, and the lawsuit claims they have a “substantial reputation and goodwill” in Australia. (Hashtag Burgers claims they are not attempting to “mimic or model” In-N-Out, and that they do not need a license for their name or branding, and that because In-N-Out does not handle regular fast-food business in Australia, they have “no goodwill in Australia.”
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Representatives from both companies are scheduled to go back to court August 10 for a preliminary hearing, according to the report.