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In-N-Out of Trouble: Beer Company Infringes on Trademarks of Famous Burger Chain


August 29, 2018

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When it comes to cease and desist letters, they are often formal (at best) or hostile (at worst). However, In-N-Out Burger (“In-N-Out”), an American fast food chain, recently demonstrated that it is possible to lighten the tone, while still being effective.


As reported by techdirt, the west coast burger chain recently sent a cease and desist letter to Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery (“Seven Stills”) with regard to the logo on the company’s barrel aged neopolitan milkshake stout, which it called “In-N-Stout”. The beer can exhibited the In-N-Out trademarked palm trees, arrow and, obviously, a similar brand name.


The San Francisco based brewery even cheekily tagged In-N-Out in its Instagram post promoting the beer.


Even though the two companies are in different markets, the similar markings could potentially cause consumers to infer that the two brands are associated with one another. As such, In-N-Out decided to take a playful approach in its letter to Seven Stills by including several beer-related puns, such as:

  • "Based on your use of our marks, we felt obligated to hop to action in order to prevent further issues from brewing"; and

  • "We hope you appreciate, however, that we are attempting to clearly distill our rights by crafting an amicable approach with you, rather than barrel through this".


Seven Stills obliged In-N-Out’s request and has since changed the logo on the beer in question. In keeping with the good-spirited nature of this interaction, Seven Stills posted the letter to its Instagram page with the caption, “We count 9. Can you find them all?”, clearly applauding In-N-Out on its copious use of puns.


Author: Sam Galway

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