In-N-Out Burger sent a cease and desist letter to Houston restaurant Underbelly for naming one of its burgers a “UB Double Double.” According to Eater, the California-based chain “has trademarked every possible version of ‘double double’ as it relates to hamburgers.” The owner of Underbelly obviously has a great sense of humor, since he promptly changed the burger name to “Cease and Desist Burger” after receiving the letter.
This is just the latest instance of a large corporation needlessly protecting its brand by picking on the small guys. We understand when a small business owner like Dominique Ansel trademarks his recipes and intellectual property (see: Cronuts). But its a whole different situation when large food corporations show hostility towards smaller ones—especially when all the little guys want is to pay homage to more well-known brands or items.
Recently, Magic Hat sued a small Kentucky brewery for copying the No. 9 beer label. Back in 2009—in an instance of pure justice (and power to the people)—McDonald’s lost an eight-year trademark battle to stop a restaurant in Malaysia calling itself McCurry. And in the douchiest of all trademark infringement stories, NYC’s Tao nightclub sued a small restaurant in Maine that was also named “Tao.” Are these companies purely being bullies, or do they seriously feel threatened by these small-fry businesses?