Burger King has the rights to use its name throughout the entire United States, with the exception of a 20-mile radius surrounding a totally unrelated restaurant, also called Burger King, in Mattoon, Illinois.

Burger King (Mattoon, Illinois)

For the unrelated Burger King, see Burger King.

Mattoon’s Burger King in September 2007

Burger King is a restaurant founded by the Hoots family and operated by Burger King LLC of Illinois in Mattoon, Illinois, United States; it is not related to the fast food chain Burger King. The restaurant’s founders claim it is the “original” Burger King and predates the fast food chain. A 1968 court case between this restaurant and the larger Burger King chain is a well-known case in United States trademark law regarding the Lanham Act.

History

The Burger King in May 2011

Mattoon residents Gene and Betty Hoots bought the successful Frigid Queen ice cream shop from Gene’s uncle, Bill Paullin, in 1952. In 1954, Gene expanded the busin… Continue Reading (3 minute read)

6 thoughts on “Burger King has the rights to use its name throughout the entire United States, with the exception of a 20-mile radius surrounding a totally unrelated restaurant, also called Burger King, in Mattoon, Illinois.”

  1. wateroclock

    > Betty Hoots said that Burger King Corp. offered the Hootses $10,000 for the right to operate a Burger King restaurant within the 20-mile Mattoon area, but the Hootses declined.

    I bet the OG Burger King’s dignity is worth way over 10 grand.

  2. GTAwheelman

    It’s pretty good burger place. Sort of odd place too. Had stuff on walls for sale. Like paintings and other random items. Not branded merchandise, think thrift store.

    That was a few years ago though.

  3. bolax

    They’re called Hungry Jacks here in Australia due to something similar.

  4. sdm2430

    As a life long Mattoon resident I can tell you the Original Burger King is much better than the chain. If you are ever forced to come to Mattoon Burger King and Villa Pizza are a must!

  5. doclsd

    In 1952, a young entrepreneur named Gene Hoots bought an ice-cream stand called Frigid Queen from his uncle. Later in 1954, he expanded his menu by adding burgers and fries and named it Burger King. He decided to register “Burger King” as a trademark with the state of Illinois. Little did he know, this trademark would eventually get him involved in a court case and set a precedent in trademark law that still stands to this day.

    Around the time Gene Hoots started Burger King, another restaurant with the same name was being set up in Florida. This Florida business grew into the Burger King brand that is recognized around the world. In 1968, Mr. Hoots brought a suit against the corporate giant arguing that his state-registered trademark gave him exclusive rights to the name in the State of Illinois.

    The corporate Burger King argued that their federal trademark trumped Gene Hoots state trademark. Eventually, the court ruled in favor of Mr. Hoots, stating that his trademark is valid. This gave Mr. Hoots the exclusive rights to his market area of a 20-mile radius of 1500 Charleston Ave, Mattoon, IL.

  6. JScrambler

    They should surround it with Burger Kings at the 20.1 mile mark.

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