In-N-Out Burger Suing Smashburger for Infringement

Out west a burger battle has officially started and things might get messy.

On August 28, a trademark infringement lawsuit was filed by In-N-Out Burger against one of its rivals Smashburger, reported the Orange County Register.

In the court complaint, the Southern California based In-N-Out burger chain alleges that a new item on Smashburger’s menu the Triple Double burger will likely confuse as well as mislead consumers into believing In-N-Out Burger had licensed or approved the burgers, showed court documents.

The court complaint states that in specific the new Smashburger Triple Double is very similar to the trademarked In-N-Out Double-Double as well as Triple-Triple burgers.

As the court proceeds with its complaint, both burger chains are serious about the name game.

Tom Ryan the co-founder of Smashburger told the Orange County newspaper that his company’s Triple-Double burger was not comparable to any menu offering of In-N-Out and that the company was flattered from all the attention it has received from In-N-Out to its new Triple Double burger.

In July, the Triple Double was originally launched by Smashburger, as part of the celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the chain.

The Triple Double features two beef patties and three slices of cheese between a pair of buttered buns. The Denver based chain’s new controversial burger is prepared as well as served for the most part the same way the In-N-Out Double Double and Triple Double are prepared.

The Double Double comes with two beef patties and two cheese slices, while the Triple Triple has three burger patties and three slices of cheese.

In-N-Out is not new at filing lawsuits to protect its trademark. The chain is fiercely protective of its burger brand, which has a huge cult-like following. According to court filings, the chain, which has been selling burgers for 68 years, has on several occasions filed lawsuits against other restaurants for different reasons including restaurant uniforms, décor and logos similar to their In-N-Out brand.

In-N-Out restaurants are located for the most part in the Southwest and Pacific coast of the U.S. It was founded in 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder. Its headquarters are currently in Irvine, California.

Currently the chain is owned by the Synder’s only grandchild Lynsi Snyder.

The chain has resisted any franchising or going public worried over the prospect of losing quality or consistency with large and rapid growth.

Beware of Plastic Surgeons on Instagram

Instagram is not only for people that want to post selfies. A number of plastic surgeons advertise their work on the popular social media site.

Yet selecting the plastic surgeon to perform work through Instagram may include serious risk if the surgeon does not have board certification, according to a study just published Wednesday by the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

Just 17.8% of Instagram posts related to plastic surgery in the U.S. and Canada may be from plastic surgeons that are board certified showed the study, which analyzed the posts taken from one day during January.

Most of the posts on that day were from physicians and non-trained plastic surgeons or professionals who did not even have physician licenses, like dentists or aestheticians from spas, said the author of the study Dr. Clark Schierle.

The study’s author said that finding a surgeon through Instagram might not necessarily be a problem, adding that his practice itself accounts on the site and other sites focusing on social media.

Instead, a problem in public health could arise when professionals who are not certified market procedures that are invasive on the social media site and potential patients might not verify the person marketing the procedures is board certified for that particular surgery.

Schierle said that there has been reports of terrible incidents that have taken place associated with surgery that was performed in less than the safest possible manner.

As for on Instagram, some of the doctors practice outside the scope of their practice and some are non-physicians that are doing some very crazy things, such as injecting silicone building material that was purchased at Home Depot into the bodies of their patients, said Schierle.

Today with social media and Internet, these people hold more voice and more of an opportunity to transmit than before.

He added that social media has taken it all to another level.

The study published Wednesday involved over 1 million posts on Instagram uploaded on January 9 this year. Each post included at least one of over 21 different hashtags related to plastic surgery like #plasticsurgeon, # plasticsurgery or #breastlift.

On Instagram the hashtags help categorize and aggregate uploaded videos or photos that fall into categories with similar content.

Among hashtags in this study, use of colloquial or terminology considered layperson for cosmetic procedures seemed to be far more popular that using technical terminology, said the study’s author.

Burger King Introduces WhopperCoins in Russia

Burger King the fast-food burger chain launched WhopperCoin, its own form of cryptocurrency, in Russia.

Customers at its fast food restaurants can now claim one for every ruble spent for a Whopper sandwich. Russians can now purchase a Whopper with this new virtual cash, once they amass 1,700 in WhopperCoins.

Burger King announced that it would release Android and Apple apps in September so customers can save, as well as share or trade their wallets with WhopperCoins.

The new program offered by Burger King was in partnership with Waves, a crypto-cash-based startup, which will create and run the WhopperCoins program.

The technology company will operate the blockchain ledger for the cryptocurrency to track who has coins and what was done with the same.

Customers can claim the coins by just scanning their receipt with their smartphone.

The stand-alone cryptocurrency system has similar technical aspects to that of Bitcoin but is still distinct from that cryptocurrency.

The advantage to this standalone currency system is that the company will be able to shut it down if it finds it is being abused.

Through a prepared statement, Waves announced that 1 billion WhopperCoins had already been generated to use in Burger King’s loyalty program.

The cost at this time for a Whopper purchased in Russia suggests that customers will receive a free sandwich following the purchase of their fifth or sixth Whopper that is purchased with real money.

Ivan Shestov, Burger King’s head of communications in Russia, said the program has created an investment vehicle in the form of a Whopper.

Across social media some users reported they had already had managed to claim their first WhopperCoins after purchasing a Whopper at one of the Burger Kings located in Russia.

A research fellow in England said that Burger King had become the first major brand to issue a cryptocurrency of its own but he expected several others would soon follow.

One tech analyst said that traditional programs for customer loyalty such as flight miles for airlines typically have a limited range of options for exchange. But, the ease in which the individual branded cryptocurrencies are made to be trade for other types of currencies or other assets could make them far more compelling that a standard loyalty program.

However, an issue that corporate issuers face is who else would accept the cryptocurrency they created.

Warren Buffet Becomes Top Shareholder of Bank of America

In 2011, Warren Buffett the billionaire investor rescued Bank of America with an investment of $5 billion. He turned that investment on paper into a profit in excess of $11 billion after he exercised his right of buying another 700 million shares of the common stock of the bank at a deeply discounted price.

After the market close on Tuesday, Bank of America released a confirmation that Berkshire Hathaway, the investment firm owned by Buffett exercised warrants to purchase 700 million common stock bank shares at a per share price of $7.14, which represented a deep discount to the closing price of $23.58 of the stock on Tuesday.

The purchase of the new stock was made with preferred shares acquired by Berkshire through investments it made in August of 2011 in the bank.

The deal now makes Berkshire the largest single shareholder in the bank.

Brian Moynihan the CEO of Bank America said through a prepared statement that in 2011 the bank welcomed Berkshire as a new shareholder and it appreciates the continued support of the company as the largest shareholder.

Buffett’s purchase of the 700 million shares cost $5 billion, based upon the deal’s terms six years ago. However, at the closing price on Tuesday the shares are valued at close to $16.5 billion, which on papery results in a profit or gain of $11.5 billion.

This past June, the bank passed a pair of stress tests that the Federal Reserve carries out and that cleared the way for it to increase its dividend annually by 60%.

The dividend increase, now 48 cents per share, helped Berkshire decide to exercise the stock warrants prior to them expiring in 2021.

Buffet, in an annual letter he sends to his shareholders, said publicly that if BoA increased its annual dividend above the threshold of 44 cents a share prior to 2021 he would exercise the stock warrants to purchase another 700 million BofA shares.

The investment of $5 billion by Berkshire in 2011 in the preferred shares of the bank paid a dividend annually of 6%. It gave Buffet as well the right to purchase $5 billion in common stock at BofA prior to 2021 for $7.14 per share.

When the deal was announced during 2021 the bank was having legal problems following the mortgage fallout. And Buffett said he was impressed with the abilities of the bank to generate profits.