In-N-Out, the popular California based fast food chain, has sued food delivery startup DoorDash for trademark infringement and unfair competition.
In the Complaint, In-N-Out claims that Defendant, DoorDash’s use of “Plaintiff’s famous trademarks implies that Defendant not only delivers In-N-Out products to its customers, but that the quality and services offered by Defendant is the same as if consumers had made purchases directly from Plaintiff. Upon information and belief, the quality of services offered by Defendant does not at all comport with the standards that consumers expect from Plaintiff’s goods and services. Further, Plaintiff has no control over the time it takes Defendant to deliver Plaintiff’s goods to consumers, or over the temperature at which the goods are kept during delivery, nor over the food handling and safety practices of Defendant’s delivery drivers. While Plaintiff adheres to the Food Code, on information and belief, Defendant does not adhere to such regulations, including with regard to compliance with required food safety and handling practices.”
In-N-Out first contacted DoorDash in 2014, requesting that the startup stop using their trademark’s on its site, and also that DoorDash stop delivering or offering to deliver In-N-Out food. According to the lawsuit, filed in November 2015 in California, DoorDash failed to respond to several cease and desist letters sent by In-N-Out’s counsel demanding the start up infringing on In-N-Out stop delivering their food.
This will be an interesting case to follow, especially for its potential ramifications on other on-demand food delivery startups, which have become increasingly popular recently and trademark fair use.