Trademark Infringement? Hungry Jack’s vs. Burger King

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Hungry Jack’s Burger King Trademark Infringement is part of the TPOL Down Under Trip Report.


Where’s the True Home of the Whopper?

My fascination with Hungry Jack’s began w‎hen I visited Sydney in 2013 (see The $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World). I couldn’t understand how this fast food place was not in violation of Burger King’s trademark. Then I read the history of Hungry Jack’s and learned that it was Burger King that was in the wrong.

Here’s a quick history of Hungry Jack’s in Australia. In 1971, when Burger King sought to expand to Australia, it offered Jack Cowin a master franchise agreement‎. At that time, a local business owned the trademark of Burger King. As such, Cowin used his name to start BK Australia known as Hungry Jack’s. From the colors to the slogan ‘Home of the Whopper’ ‎to the Whopper sandwich, everything was Burger King besides the name.

In 1996, the Burger King trademark in Australia lapsed. At that time, Burger King tried to claim that Cowin was in breach of his licensee agreement. Burger King began opening stores with the Burger King name. In 2001, Cowin filed a breach of client claim against Burger King. The Australian court ruled in favor of Cowin and awarded Hungry Jack’s 46.9 million AUD. ‎Since then, all Burger King’s are now owned by Hungry Jack’s and are branded as such.

Besides legal intrigue, the q‎uestion is whether Jack’s Whopper tastes as good as the King’s. There was only one way to find out. I ordered a Whopper and brought it into the SQ Melbourne Lounge for a proper taste test.

Packaging 

I prefer my paper wrapping over this McDonald’s Big Mac outfit.

Taste

The recipe may be exactly the same, but the psychology of it coming from Hungry Jack’s versus Burger King made me question if it tasted as good. Add in that it was cold and I can say that BK is better.

Overall

Burger King was shady with how it tried to infiltrate the Australian market. However, there is only one Home of the Whopper and it isn’t Jack’s house.

Sorry Jack

Extra! Extra! Read more about Hungry Jack’s on Wiki, TPOL’s source for this article.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hungry Jack’s is not only a reference to the franchisee’s name, but also, conveniently, a trademark of Pillsbury, which owned Burger King at the time of the concept’s original introduction in Australia (when the Burger King trademark was not available).

  2. Hmm, I have a cunning idea: maybe BK could, you know, buy the company instead of fighting with it. On a side note, the vegan cheeseburger sounds repulsive.

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