Burger King Case Analysis


Burger King Case Analysis

Burger King, the national franchise, is banned from opening a restaurant within 20 miles of Mattoon, Illinois. So, there,is not a Burger King there; no problem, right? Not so fast! In the late 1950s, Gene and Betty Hoots trademarked the iconic name. Well, they trademarked it in Illinois at least. When the nationai company decided to open a chain close by, the Hoots sued and won their case. However, the national chain was able to keep the name Burger King, but the Hoots were also able to keep the name in accordance with the stipulation that the national chain could not open a store within a 20- mile radius of the original store in Mattoon, Illinois.

In a minimum of 500 words, explain the reasons why this decision was mc1de, and discuss the significance of this case in· U.S. trademark law jurisprudence.


Burger King Case Analysis

One of the provisions of a business law that is extremely used in the business world today is the property law. Property law is a provision of the business law that reguralize the distinct form of property rights and occupancy of real property as well as personal property. According to this law, there is a significant difference between portable and immobile property. Additionally, portable property concord to personal property while the immobile property concord to real property such as real estate or land. On the other hand, intellectual property helps with the mind creation such as inventions, literary and artistic work. For example, intellectual property laws have been put into proper use in the Burger King Vs. Hoot case.

Burger King Vs. Hoot case

In this case, Gene and Betty Hoots argue that they are the real owners of the burger king’s name because they opened their first and original burger king in Matton back in the year 1957 (Kubasek, 2016). Its name was registered as a trademark in Illinois immediately after the opening of their first stand. Therefore, when a national company began opening a chain of burger kings across the united states and abroad, the original owners of burger king sued the national company and won. Unfortunately, Gene and Betty Hoots only won in Illinois which means that the national burger king was banned from conducting their business in Illinois to protect the business and trademark of the original owners (Kubasek, 2016).

Objective of the trademark laws

The primary objective of the trademark laws in the united states is to protect traders from unfair competition. Therefore, the primary reason why the national king burger lost to the original king burger and banned from operating in Illinois was to protect the original king burger from unfair competition through the application of a test consumer application and provision of rights and remedies to the owner of the trademark (Spiers, 2009). Despite the fact that the national king burger often known as the Big BK lost the case, in some sense it won because it was allowed to open national wide stores considering that it was given nationwide protection as a result of its federal registration. The banning of the Big BK to open a competing store within 40 miles of Matton was aimed at helping consumers distinguish the Big BK from the original burger king as well as protecting the Gene and Betty Hoots investment.

Notably, this case is important to the United States’ jurisprudence considering that it is one of the major and first trademark cases in the country. From the ruling of the case, it was clear that a company or an individual can only get exclusive trademark rights where they actually do business unless they can get a federal registration. Therefore, to prevent future companies taking up the name of the business, the owner of the business needs to get a federal registration preventing other organization from using the trademark (Spiers, 2009). However, a mere registration of the trademark cannot empower an individual to prevent other future investors from using the trademark completely. However, the case shows the importance and commitment of the government in protecting private property and ensuring that there is a fair competition in the market.


Kubasek, N. B. (2016). Dynamic business law: The essentials (3rd ed.). New York, NY: : McGraw-Hill Education.

Spiers, D. (2009). Intellectual property law. Dundee: Dundee University Press.

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