It has been said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but imitation also seems to be the sincerest way to find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit.
At least, that's what's happening to In-N-Out Cleaners in Wichita, Kansas, which seems to have borrowed both its name and its logo from the iconic California burger chain.
TMZ reports that the dry cleaner, which opened last September, is being sued for an undisclosed amount over its name and logo design. It's hard to argue with In-N-Out Burger (the edible version), because In-N-Out (the neatly pressed version) has copied everything from the red and yellow color scheme to the logo, with a yellow clothes hanger that leans at an almost identical angle to the burger slinger's yellow arrow.
According to TMZ, the Irvine, California-based chain was alerted to the copycat logo by disappointed customers who allegedly thought that one of its restaurants was opening in Kansas. It took the complaints seriously—and apparently called its lawyers.
Wichita television station KWCH reports that the lawsuit against the Kansan In-N-Out has six counts, including trademark infringement and trademark dilution. The company is asking for punitive damages and to hand over everything it has with the nearly identical logo, including advertising materials and signs. The dry cleaner appeared to be responding yesterday; it has changed its Facebook profile picture and cover photo to generic versions of the building's exterior that do not have any kind of name or logo.
In-N-Out has gone to great lengths to protect its brand in the United States and abroad; despite not owning or operating any restaurants outside the western US, it has paid big money for trademark protections in Europe, Mexico, Canada, China, Korea and the Philippines. And when eerily similar competitor Caliburger opened with familiar-looking color schemes and menu items, it filed a lawsuit forcing Caliburger to change the name of its "Animal Style" and "Double Double" burgers.
We're gonna guess that Wichita is going to lose its In-N-Out—although it will probably still have a reasonably priced dry cleaner. MUNCHIES has reached out to both In-N-Out Burger and In-N-Out Cleaners for comment but has not yet received a response.