The burger chain has had trademark issues Down Under before.

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
July 20, 2021
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Sometimes when a single product is so popular, it spurs a wave of imitations, whether it's a designer handbag or a chicken sandwich. Hence the internet is rife with sketchy shops hawking knockoff items on social media feeds. But trying to pass your business off as a reasonable facsimile of a well-known burger chain? That's an entirely different gambit. Whether that was their intent or not, one Australian restaurant has flown a little too close to the burger-slinging sun that is beloved Southern California fast-food mainstay In-N-Out.

Last Thursday, In-N-Out has filed suit against In & Out Aussie Burgers, which isn't actually a brick-and-mortar restaurant, but a ghost kitchen that has operated via Uber Eats for several months in the country, Nation's Restaurant News reports.

In-N-Out Burger sign
Credit: George Rose / Getty Images

Puneet Ahori — the owner of In & Out Aussie Burgers operator Rich Asians pty. ltd. — registered both that name as well as "In-N-Out Aussie Burgers" and "Over & Out Burgers" with the Australian Business Register back in May. Since getting up and running, the brand has caused some confusion among customers, leading to a Reddit thread titled "PSA: In-N-Out Burger on Uber Eats is NOT In-N-Out Burger." In due turn, the U.S.-based In-N-Out warned Ahori to cease use of the name several weeks before officially filing suit.

In-N-Out provided no further details on case, according to NRN, saying, "We cannot comment due to the fact that this matter involves ongoing litigation."

But if the basic tenets of this story — In-N-Out suing an Australian burger maker over infringement — seem familiar, that's because they are. In 2018, In-N-Out took Sydney-based chain Hashtag Burgers to court over its "Down N' Out" brand on similar claims. In-N-Out was victorious in the case and operations of that outlet were ceased.

Clearly, there's an appetite for In-N-Out in Australia but the chain currently has no stores on the continent. They have, however, operated a few pop-ups, though that may, as The New Daily suggests, have something to do with keeping the brand active in the country at least every three years, a requirement to maintain their claim to the trademark.

In-N-Out has had a rocky history in the age of food delivery going back to 2015 when the chain was one of many that were unhappy with apps for offering to deliver from its restaurants without permission, citing a lack of quality control.