OPINIONOperations

Remembering the copycatting case that went where no restaurant had gone before

The theft of intellectual property was so extreme that the matter went all the way to the Supreme Court.

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Copycatting a successful restaurant concept is as old as the industry itself. Witness the recent efforts by Crumbl Cookies to block upstart competitors from lifting signature features of the fast-growing baked-goods specialist.

But few of those alleged thefts of intellectual property are as outrageous as a situation that had to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992. It involved a brand that still operates today, Taco Cabana, and a competitor it would eventually absorb, Two Pesos.

The dispute resulted in an order by a federal court for Two Pesos to post signs alerting customers that it had stolen its format and design from Taco Cabana.

The district court also gave nine specific directives of how Two Pesos needed to change its design, right down to the roofline.

Sound crazy? Give a listen to learn how the case ended up twice before the Supreme Court. Download this and every episode from wherever you get your podcasts.

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