For many burger aficionados, In-N-Out is hallowed ground, its sacred Double Double a thing to be spoken of with reverence and respected at all costs. So Chinese burger lovers were understandably excited when they heard the Double Double would be making an appearance in Shanghai. The only problem was that In-N-Out doesn’t have any stores in China.
The restaurants touting the Double Double (and fries and shakes) are owned by a company called CaliBurger, which sells In-N-Out’s California image with more than just food, offering California wines on its menu and employing tanned Western models as its spokespeople.
China doesn’t exactly have a history as a beacon of IP rights, though they are supposedly working on the problem. In 2011, authorities found 22 fake Apple stores in the country, and other hilariously named restaurant knockoffs such as Jambo Juice and Obama Fried Chicken abound in large Chinese cities.
In such a climate, it could be difficult to enforce IP rights, especially from halfway across the globe. But luckily for In-N-Out, CaliBurger is an American company, with offices in Diamond Bar, Calif. CaliBurger agreed to adjust their menu after In-N-Out sued it for trademark infringement and counterfeiting in district court.
Not one to dash the hopes of Chinese customers, though, In-N-Out took its (real) wares to Shanghai in December 2011 for tasting, suggesting it may be contemplating branching out across the Pacific.