Whataburger is a Texas born and bred burger chain that has gained a huge following throughout its 50 plus years. A few years ago, Whataburger decided to sell so they could have the opportunity to spread their burger goodness across the country. That prompted many in Texas to turn against the burger giant. The company now has plans to expand into the Carolinas where a similarly named burger joint exists, What-A-Burger #13. Whataburger has talked with this restaurant before and believed they breached their agreement and violated their trademark.

History of Whataburger (Texas) Versus What-A-Burger #13 (North Carolina)

Whataburger got its start in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1950 providing great tasting hamburgers to the residents there. As its popularity grew, so did the number of locations. Soon, Whataburger had restaurants in most of the southern states. In 2019, Whataburger sold to BDT Capital Partners so the burger giant could expand to the rest of the United States. Whataburger now plans to open its first stores in North Carolina in 2025 (WCNC).

What-A-Burger #13 in Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina
What-A-Burger #13 in Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina

Thing is, there's a local burger joint in North Carolina, with only two locations, that is named What-A-Burger #13. Whataburger became aware of this restaurant in 2020 and reached out to them. The two parties allegedly came to a confidential agreement to continue using the What-A-Burger #13 branding.

Whataburger's Violation Claims in Lawsuit

Whataburger is now claiming that What-A-Burger #13 has violated that agreement and formed a limited liability corporation (LLC) a few days before entering into the alleged confidential agreement without telling Whataburger. This forced Whataburger to file suit against What-A-Burger #13 for copyright infringement, breach of contract and other violations.

Whatburger lawsuit against ... by WCNC Digital

Whataburger is hoping to get the following rulings out of the lawsuit:

  • What-A-Burger #13 to stop using the name
  • For all existing What-A-Burger #13 signage to be destroyed
  • Turn the What-A-Burger #13 website domain name over to Whataburger
  • Pay any profits from the What-A-Burger #13 name to Whataburger
  • Any other court mandated financial compensation
  • Provide proof that all of the above is done

What-A-Burger #13 has Fired Back

The lawyers for What-A-Burger #13 spoke out recently saying that Whataburger was the first to break their agreement that was in place decades ago. In 1970, there was an agreement between Grace Dobson (owner of Whataburger) and the Bost family (owner of What-A-Burger #13) that Whataburger would not open any restaurants in Stanly and Cabarrus counties in North Carolina. By Whataburger announcing locations will be built in those areas in 2022, that agreement was breached (chron.com).

The gloves are off with this going to trial. We'll keep an eye on this story and let you know when a verdict has been reached.

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