US fast food giant Smashburger demands pub in Plymouth changes name of its new 'Smashed Burgers' menu item in trademark row
An American burger chain has demanded a Plymouth pub stops serving its 'smashed' burgers - because they say it infringes on their trademark rights.
Smashburger, an American fast-food chain with over 300 restaurants, say people may confuse their brand with the 'Howey's Smashed Burgers' menu item at The Colebrook Inn in Plympton.
拥有300多家餐厅的美国快餐连锁店Smashburger说，人们可能会把自己的品牌与普林普顿Colebrook Inn的“Howey‘s Smred Burgers”菜单混淆。
Management atindependently-owned pub said they decided to launch a new burger menu a few months ago, to increase the pub's takeaway offerings during lockdown.
Manager Rob Naylor said he and his team designed a logo for their new burger menu - and even went through the process of getting their design trademarked.
But after two months of waiting for full approval, Rob has now had the cease and desist letter, ordering him to stop using the word 'Smashed'.
'A smashed burger is a process of cooking, not a brand,' said Rob.
'It's frustrating because I'm not a global chain, [I'm] just trying to make a living and provide the local community with something different and keep staff employed.'
Wanting to offer something punters can't get anywhere else in the city, the Colebrook launched 'Howey's Smashed Burgers,' which takes its name from Rob's middle name Howard and a particular style of preparing and cooking burgers.
为了给赌客提供在纽约其他地方买不到的东西，科尔布鲁克推出了“豪威粉碎汉堡”(Howey‘s Smred Burgers)，它的名字来源于罗布的中间名霍华德(Howard)，以及制作和烹调汉堡的独特风格。
'Smashing' a burger means just that, smashing it down with a spatula or similar cooking utensil, in order to release the meat's proteins, potentially making burgers have a stronger or juicier flavour.
Smashburger is an American fast-food chain which was founded in Colorado in 2008 and now has more than 300 corporate and franchise-owned locations across the US and in eight other countries.
In the UK, the chain has seven restaurants including sites in Glasgow, Brighton and Newcastle, but none in the South West.
Owning the trademark to its logo as well as to the word 'Smashburger' itself, lawyers for the chain penned a letter to The Colebrook Inn claiming that the pub has been showing 'unauthorised use' of the words 'smashed burgers' and is infringing on trademarked words.
Rob Naylor said he was extremely surprised by the letter, saying: 'I didn't expect having this letter to come, especially not from the States!
'Howey's Smashed Burger is named after my middle-name which isHoward, and that the burgers are smashed, that's not a thing I've made up, it's a proper way of cooking burgers that releases their proteins. It's called the Maillard reaction.'
But Smashburger's lawyers Bird & Bird say the chain cannot allow The Colebrook Inn to use or register 'Howey's Smashed Burgers' as a trademark.
但Smashburger的律师Bird&Bird表示，该连锁店不能允许Colebrook Inn使用或注册“Howey‘s Smired Burgers”作为商标。
The pub must also cease using the offending logo and never again use the words 'Smash Burger' or 'Smashed Burger'.
酒吧还必须停止使用令人不快的标识，再也不能使用“Smash Burger”或“Smash Burger”这两个词。
In a letter to Rob, lawyers say: 'Our client operates under its SMASHBURGER brand over 300 restaurants in several countries, including seven restaurants in the UK.
'Since its inception our client has taken very seriously the protection of its brand and as a result, it owns several UK and EU registrations covering services for providing food and drink.'
Bird & Bird say The Colebrook's Inn's product and logo is an 'Infringing Mark' and is 'highly similar' to Smashburger's logo and branding.
They say: 'There is no doubt that the Infringing Mark and our client's Smash Marks are highly similar, as the words SMASHBURGER and SMASHED BURGERS have a high level of similarity.
他们说：“毫无疑问，侵权商标和我们客户的Smash Marks非常相似，因为Smashburger和Smash Burgers这两个词有很高的相似性。”
'Further, you are using the Infringing Mark in relation to services that are identical to those covered by our client's Smash Marks and those provided by our client.'
'In light of the scope of our client's trade mark rights and its reputation and goodwill, your use and registration of the Infringing Mark in relation to services identical to those covered by our client's Smash Marks will create a likelihood of confusion and it infringes our client's trade mark rights pursuant to section 10 (2)(b) of the Trade Marks Act 1994.'
The letter listed several demands for Rob including withdrawing his trademark application, and removing Smashed Burgers from all the pub's marketing material.
The lawyers added they would not object to The Colebrook using the term 'Howey's Burgers' as long as 'smashed' is removed.
While Rob and the team at The Colebrook would love to fight for the right to use the word 'smashed' in the context of their smashed burgers, Rob says he knows challenging a corporation would be incredibly expensive.
He said he simply can't afford to speak to a solicitor about the issue, and would urge anyone who is able to help the pub, or offer free legal advice, to get in touch.
Bird & Bird have asked him to respond or agree to their proposal by today.
The deadline for Smashburger to formally oppose The Colebrook Inn's application for trademark is believed to be December 2.