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Chadder’s on the Outs with In-N-Out

An interesting trademark/trade-dress case from the District of Utah. Most of the opinion is a relatively dull discussion of trade dress.

Here’s the fun part.

You know when you ask for a Coke® and the waiter says “Is Pepsi® okay?” What do you do? You roll your eyes and say, “yeah, whatever, if I want to have a conversation about branding, I’ll send out an email to the International Trademark Association list serv. If I want to have a really annoying and boring conversation about branding, I’ll send one to the Intellectual Property Professors list serv. But right now, I just want SOME FREAKIN FIZZY CAFFEINE, SO BRING ME MY GODDAMN CAFFEINE AND SOME DAMN ICE, AND I DON’T REALLY CARE WHAT THE HELL IT IS! GOD DAMN IT, IF I DON’T GET MY CAFFEINE NOW, I’M LIKELY TO FLIP THE HELL OUT AND BASH YOUR HEAD IN WITH A TIRE IRON. SO GO GET ME A COKE, OR A PEPSI, OR A FREAKIN RC COLA, OR A FANTA, OR WHATEVER. JUST GO GET IT AND BRING IT HERE!”

Umm, okay, maybe that would be a bit of an overreaction – and I swear that I have never actually reacted that way. But, that is approximately what I scream inside my head as I politely say “oh, that’s fine.”

Somewhere out there in Utah, there is a court order that requires the guy who says “y’want fries with that?” to be annoying. It really is not his fault.

In-N-Out has federally registered trademarks in the names Protein® Style Burger, Animal® Style Burger, 3 x 3® Burger, 4 x 4® Burger and Double Double®. In-N-Out Burgers v. Chadders Rest., __ F.Supp.2d__ (D. Utah 2007)

Apparently customers were driving up to the Chadders joints and asking for a “Double Double,” and the damn employees at Chadders were, instead of being annoying trademark wonks, were just serving them their hamburgers!

Yep, litigation ensued and In-N-Out wins round one.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Defendants Chadders Restaurant, CSSR Holding, LLC, Chadder’s Holding, LLC, and Chad Stubbs, and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and those persons in active concert or participation with them who receive actual notice of this Order are hereby restrained from operating Chadder’s Restaurant, in American Fork, Utah while doing the following: selling, offering for sale, advertising, or fulfilling any order placed by a customer using any of the following terms: “Animal”, “Protein”, “3×3”, “4×4,” and/or “Double Double.” It is further ORDERED that any customer requesting a product or style of preparation using these terms shall be advised that Chadder’s does not offer such product or style of preparation and shall be referred to the Chadder’s menu. Id.

So if I ask for “Protein,” in American Fork, Utah, the Chadder’s guy MUST tell me “sorry sir, we don’t have Protein here.”

I do believe in protecting trademarks, but this one is just a bit loony.

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