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Burger King of Florida, Inc. v. Hoots

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
403 F.2d 904 (1968)


Facts

Burger King of Florida, Inc. (Burger King) (plaintiff) opened its first restaurant, called Burger King, in Florida in 1953 and expanded to Illinois in 1961. Hoots (defendant) had opened its first Burger King restaurant in Mattoon, Illinois in 1957 and registered the trademark “Burger King” under the Illinois Trade Mark Act. At the time, Hoots did not have notice of Burger King’s use of the same mark outside of Illinois. However, Burger King had notice of Hoots’s registration when it opened its first restaurant in Illinois in 1961. Burger King registered the trademark “Burger King” on the federal register in 1961. By 1967, Burger King had over fifty restaurants in Illinois. Hoots had only opened one other restaurant in Charleston, Illinois, in 1962. Hoots opened this restaurant with constructive knowledge of Burger King’s federal trademark. Hoots sued Burger King in state court, and Burger King sued Hoots in federal court for violation of its federal trademark. Hoots counter-claimed, requesting an injunction because of Burger King’s violation of Hoots’s state trademark. The district court found that Burger King’s property right in the trademark was superior to Hoots’s because of the natural expansion of Burger King’s business throughout Illinois but that Hoots still had the right to use its trademark in the area in which it first adopted it innocently without notice of Burger King’s competing trademark. Hoots appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kiley, J.)

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