Young and Hungry

Z-Burger Founder Tweets Under Competitors’ Names; BGR to Compete in Burger Summit

…Melissa Castro at the Washington Business Journal has dug up a juicy, mouth-watering, medium-rare bit of news (requires subscription to read full text) on Z-Burger, whose founder has been caught Tweeting about his chain under the names of Elevation Burger and Ray's Hell Burger, two of Z's major competitors.

I guess if you don't have organic beef, steakhouse cuts, or some other selling point ("The president ate here!"), you can always turn to disinformation campaigns on Twitter. Reports Castro:

We all know what President Barack Obama's burger runs did for the competitive burger market in Washington. But the burger wars actually started before that, when the founder of Z-Burger was caught Tweeting about his chain using fake online personas of two of his rivals, Elevation Burger and Ray's Hell Burger.

Masquerading under the Elevation Burger persona on social networking site Twitter, the Z-Burger founder allegedly Tweeted: "I'm going to eat at Z-Burger for lunch today." The public messages were discovered by an Elevation Burger vendor.

Susan Weller, a trademark attorney with D.C.'s Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC, represents Elevation Burger and successfully got the "brandjacked" (her publicist's words) Twitter account deactivated.

"Identity impersonation on social media sites — much like with domain name registration — can create serious problems for companies," Weller says. "Not only can it threaten to undermine an organization's marketing efforts and relationships with customers, it can tarnish their trademarks, diminish their value and even reduce their rights if proper steps are not taken to protect the assets."

Take-away message: File suit now, before it's too late.

In other news from the Burger Wars front, it seems that only one local grill man has been invited to Josh Ozersky's First Feedbag Burger Summit on Sunday, July 26, in Summit, N.J., and his name is not Michael Landrum.

Mark Bucher, founder of BGR: The Burger Joint in Bethesda (and other upcoming locations), will instead represent D.C. in a gourmet-burger competition that features heavy hitters from more than 20 major-league restaurants, including Perry Street, Minetta Tavern, Craftsteak, BLT, Kobe Club, and Le Bernadin. The showdown will be broken into four categories: haute burger, slider, classic, and specialty.

Bucher e-mailed Y&H earlier this week, saying that Ozersky and crew came to D.C. in March to taste the burgers in our area, and later invited the BGR man to take part in the competition. Bucher's only concern now? "Question is which BGR to make?" he writes. "Or make one up?"

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