In-N-Out Has Beef With Puma For Using Trademarks On New Shoes
Are you confused that Puma shoes are in some way related to the popular fast-food restaurant chain In-N-Out? The primarily hamburger based business believes there is a chance that you suffer from such confusion, and has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Puma in California.
In-N-Out’s issue centers on a particular line of shoes that Puma began selling in February. It says that a design included on a shoe is essentially identical to In-N-Out’s federally registered palm tree mark and uses design elements that are confusingly similar to its more widely known registered red and yellow In-N-Out mark.
It does not help Puma’s cause that the shoes it created and sold are referred to as the Cali-0 Drive Thru and the California Drive Thru, causing a closer connection to the In-N-Out franchise. The inclusion of an illustration of a hamburger inside the shoes also draws attention to the creation of a possible tie between the brands. There are also palm trees, similar to those registered by In-N-Out, on the Cali-O Drive Thru laces.
In promoting its shoes, Puma has been careful to not specifically reference In-N-Out. Instead, it has claimed that its shoes pay homage to part of the Cali lifestyle: its burger diners. But it also appears that Puma is trying to associate with one specific burger diner — In-N-Out. Some publications have actually demonstrated the confusion that In-N-Out says it is concerned about.
The Complaint points out that UPROXX published an article titled, “Represent In-N-Out in the Fast Food Wars With This PUMA Collaboration.” The article mentioned that “these kicks make use of In-N-Out’s yellow, red, and white color scheme and iconography for a pair of sneakers that is surprisingly subtle, as far as big brand collaborations go.” A publication called Hollywood Unlocked also posted an article titled, “PUMA Releases In-N-Out Themed Sneakers & They’re Already Sold Out.”
The Complaint additionally embeds many Instagram posts by people who clearly associate In-N-Out with the Puma sneakers.
Interestingly, not only has In-N-Out used its distinctive trademarks in connection with its restaurants, it has also sold merchandise bearing the marks. The palm trees and main logo can be seen on socks, t-shirts, mugs and more. The company claims to have sold millions of articles of clothing since 1992.
Furthermore, In-N-Out says that it has invested millions of dollars in developing, advertising and otherwise promoting its trademarks and trade dress.
On February 18 and 20, In-N-Out made an effort to resolve the matter in good faith. It demanded that Puma immediately cease and desist selling product that In-N-Out believes to be infringing on its registered marks. Puma was not interested in the offer.
The Complaint asks for disgorgement of Puma’s profits from the sale of the allegedly infringing shoe. It also seeks punitive damages and injunctive relief to bar Puma from further selling the shoe at issue.