Lions Tap Embroiled In Burger Battle With McDonald’s

Eden Prairie News:

quotation.jpgA popular local hamburger joint has a beef with McDonald’s, one so big it’s taking on the industry Goliath for trademark infringement. Lions Tap filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s in federal court on Aug. 28, claiming the fast-food giant stole its trademarked logo, “WHO’S YOUR PATTY?”

Bonnie Notermann of Shakopee, who has owned the Eden Prairie restaurant with her husband Bert since the 1970s, said they use the logo in every aspect of Lions Tap advertising. The phrase is on company T-shirts, newspaper ads and headlines the restaurant’s Web site.

“It’s a well-known statement that we have – just like the many, many McDonald’s ones that no one else would use,” Notermann said.

“I’m not sure how they couldn’t be familiar with the fact that someone else is using it. It’s not like we just started.”

Lions Tap began using the logo in 2005, developing it with the intention of using it in franchising, Notermann said.

It has a Minnesota patent for the phrase and also owns a federal patent application.

Besides confusing current customers, Notermann said McDonald’s use of the phrase will be problematic as her restaurant starts franchises in Minnesota and other states.

“This is one of our branding statements we want to use,” she said.

A few weeks ago, Lions Tap noticed McDonald’s was using the phrase to advertise its Angus burgers, Notermann said, and it has sent a letter to the company asking it to stop. Not only are the words exactly the same, but the lettering style is also similar, she said.

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