In-N-Out Is Suing Another Australian Burger Joint. Here's Why

Apparently there's only room for one In-N-Out Burger in the world. Though the beloved California-based burger chain hasn't established roots in Australia yet, it seems locals are desperate for it — so much so that Aussie Puneet Ahori recently decided to take matters into his own hands (via Food & Wine). Ahori registered his restaurants under a few different names, all of which reference the original fast food joint: In & Out Aussie Burgers, In-N-Out Aussie Burgers, and Over & Out Burgers. A few weeks before In-N-Out sued Ahori's brand for trademark infringement, the company warned him they would take legal action if he did not change the name.

Fans took to Reddit to say they were disappointed to find out that the restaurant was a phony, but Australians have been fooled by In-N-Out in the past. According to The New Daily, In-N-Out (the real one) has opened pop-up stores sporadically for a limited-time only. In 2020, an In-N-Out appeared in Brisbane for just a single day. So, we can't really blame Ahori and his customers for their insatiable appetite and excellent taste, but the In-N-Out franchise can. In court filings obtained by The New Daily, the brand's lawyers wrote that In-N-Out "has suffered loss and damage and will, if the respondents are not permanently restrained, suffer further loss and damage."

In-N-Out Aussie Burgers

As reported by The New Daily, Ahori denies that his restaurant is an In-N-Out knockoff. His model, unlike the American chains, operates as a "dark kitchen," meaning that it delivers food via third-party apps but does not have a dine-in location. "I created the business during COVID because my old restaurants were struggling and I was broke," Ahori told the outlet. "I needed to do something different, or I'd have been down millions."

Ahori's menu is similar to In-N-Out's, with items like single, double, or triple-patty burgers and "loaded fries," topped with beef, cheese, and "In-N-Out sauce." But In & Out Aussie Burgers has a few unique items as well. A chicken burger isn't something you'd find in the U.S. based restaurants, nor are onion rings, hashbrowns, or garlic bread loaded with bacon.

Still, Ahori faces an uphill battle. In-N-Out has experience with trademark infringement — in early 2020, a Sydney-based restaurant called Down-N-Out lost their appeal against In-N-Out for similar reasons (via The Sydney Morning Herald). "These guys are big, when you have the power and the money you can do what you want," Ahori told The New Daily. He explained he'll represent himself in court and plans to dispute In-N-Out's claims that his business model is acting in "flagrant or willful disregard" of the brand's trademarks.