Why Is A Burger Giant Trying To Squash A Tecumseh, Michigan Burger Joint?
Yes, this is a case of David and Goliath. Or, depending on how the case goes, the big guy sticking it to the little guy.
Burger giant In-N-Out is suing Doll n Burgers of Tecumseh, Michigan (owner of two stores; one in Tecumseh and another in Jackson, Michigan) claiming trademark infringement. California's In-N-Out has been around since the late 1940s and has expanded east to about as far as Texas. Doll n' Burgers has been around since 2020, founded by two guys, Justin Dalenburger, which is where the local burger joint's name comes from, and Ken Heers. Business was so good in Tecumseh that they're are opening another place in Jackson.
In-N-Out says Doll n' Burger's lifted their color scheme (Red, White, and Yellow). Doll n' Burgers lawyers point out that Steak and Shake, Five Guys, even Burger King, Wendy's, and McDonald's use some variation of the same colors. What's worse, In-N-Out claims Dalenburger and Heers did it knowingly on purpose. In-N-Out takes its complaint even further, saying Doll n' Burger staff dress almost the same, and the interior counters and such are a lot alike, too.
Doll n' Burgers comes back with In-N-Out has said publicly they aren't planning on expanding past Texas, so where's the confusion going to be. (though this sounds like In-N-Out is reserving the right to change its mind, if they choose to make more money.) Both sides have even trotted out experts with diametrically opposing points. One says practically no one would confuse the two, and the other side says almost half the population would be confused and mix the two up.
As always, the lawyers will make out, though Doll n' Burgers has requested the case be thrown out and that In-N-Out be ordered to pay Doll n' Burgers' legal fees.