National chain says local burger joint stole their look

National chain says local burger joint stole their look

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by Justin Corr

Bio | Email | Follow: @JCorrKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on July 24, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 11:58 AM

BOISE -- A new burger joint in Boise, Burger Express, has fast food chain In-N-Out Burger threatening a possible lawsuit for taking their intellectual property.

When walking inside, Burger Express seems a lot like most local burger places. But In-N-Out Burger said it's too much like their national chain and is accusing managing member Larry Squillace of stealing their look.

"I knew we were similar in color scheme and menu items, but that's it," said Squillace. "I mean, you can't own burgers!"

A letter to Squillace from In-N-Out's lawyer, Nicole Farrell, said, "There can be no debate that your restaurant is modeled after In-N-Out's Restaurants."

Farrell pointed to similar colors, font, and arrows on the logos. She also pointed out similar exteriors, similar color schemes on the tile, tables, and chairs and even similar-looking menus.

Squillace said he knew of In-N-Out Burger before designing his place, but that he didn't steal from anyone.

"I see the similarities," said Squillace. "Those are the fast food colors. Every fast food restaurant uses red, yellow, and white because it creates movement, it's noticeable, it's eye-catching."

Squillace also said those aren't arrows on his logo, rather, check marks. He said the food might be similar too, but that's just how he made it working at his dad's burger stand when he was young.

Farrell, however said, "Our client is very concerned that the overall look and feel of your restaurant will lead consumers to believe that our client is associated with, approves of, or has endorsed your restaurant."

She demanded that before August 5, Burger Express needs to stop using their current logo and color scheme, change the look of their menus and eliminate the use of the arrows in or on their restaurant.

Squillace said all that would cost more than $35,000 and it's not going to happen.

"I'm not going to make changes," Squillace said. "I don't feel I did anything wrong."

Right now, Squillace has just been informed about the changes that In-N-Out wants made. But he said if he misses the August 5 deadline (which he said he will) that an actual lawsuit will be filed.

Ironically, Squillace bought the space from Wendy's, who told him to make sure to that his restaurant bore no similarities to their chain. He said Wendy's has had no problems with his look.

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