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In-N-Out claims that Smashburger is infringing on its trademark

In-N-Out Burger says its rival is violating In-N-Out trademarks. The hamburger chain says that Smashburger -- based out of Denver -- has violated In-N-Out trademarks by using the name Triple-Double in reference to certain hamburgers sold by Smashburger.

According to Smashburger's online marketing, the Triple-Double burger offers triple the cheese and double the meat. However In-N-Out says that the name "Triple-Double" is too close to it's hamburger names of Double-Double, Triple-Triple and Quad-Quad. In-N-Out therefore says that Smashburger is violating its trademarks in an attempt to tap into its customer base.

The lawsuit said that "In-N-Out has suffered, and will continue to suffer, damages as a result of Smashburger's conduct constituting trademark dilution."

Smashburger has responded to the lawsuit, saying that the publicity generated by In-N-Out's lawsuit has helped its business after it debuted the hamburger last June. The CEO of Smashburger said, "Frankly, we are flattered by the attention In-N-Out has given our Smashburger Triple-Double." He further stated that the Triple-Double is not related to or comparable to hamburgers offered at In-N-Out restaurant locations.

Trademark infringement can significantly hurt a business through dilution of its brand. Companies who steal the branding and/or trademarks of other firms can unlawfully hijack the fame and reputation of an establish brand for its own benefit. However, if a company chooses to infringe on a trademark, it could face stiff financial consequences if the injured company chooses to protect its rights in court.

Source: USA Today, "In-N-Out sees Double-Double in suing Smashburger," Chris Woodyard, Aug. 30, 2017

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