- Burger joint Jack in the Box filed a lawsuit against FTX crypto exchange.
- JITB stated that the FTX character infringes the intellectual property of its mascot.
Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
U.S. burger joint Jack in the Box is suing crypto exchange FTX over Moon Man, its new mascot that the fast-food chain claims looks eerily similar to the ping-pong ball-headed clown that’s been flipping burgers since 1994.
In a complaint this week, Jack in the Box complained that FTX’s Moon Man “is intended to exploit JITB’s valuable intellectual property and trade on JITB’s goodwill in its longstanding and well-recognized Jack.”
FTX said in response to a cease and desist letter from JITB that it wasn’t trying to exploit the burger trade or ride on the success of its mascot: “Jack in the Box has only narrow protection limited to the behatted ping pong headed clown who exploded out of a box to sell burgers.”
FTX started using Moon Man as the newest mascot for the partnership between FTX and Major League Baseball last month. Moon Man is a down-on-his-luck, depressed suburbanite who is “tired of being a target” of baseballs after MLB started calling home runs “moon blasts”. Moon Man then found solace in crypto trading on FTX, which he hopes will send him to the moon.
Jack in the Box’s mascot, by contrast, was once depicted as a psychotic CEO who won’t take no for an answer. “You’re not just saying that [you like my burgers] because I’m kneeling on your spine?” he asked one of his detractors in an ad from the 90s.
Even though Moon Man’s character is the polar opposite of Jack in the Box’s mascot, you’d be forgiven for thinking they look pretty similar.
The burger joint complained that “just like Jack, FTX's Moon Man has a spherical white head also affixed to a talking human actor, with blue-dotted eyes, a nose, & a smile.” Unlike the Jack in the Box mascot, Moon Man does not have an ice cream cone hat, and sports a round nose instead of a pointy one.
Jack in the Box also thinks that its mascot is...better than FTX’s. “Making matters worse, FTX's Moon Man is a far inferior version of Jack that is now tarnishing Jack's reputation to consumers,” complained the fast-food chain in its letter.
Jack in the Box patented the “artistic expression” of the character as far back as 1994. He has been working around the clock as ‘acting CEO and founder’ since then. Besides E. coli outbreaks, franchise disputes, and an ADA lawsuit, Jack in the Box has found itself in a few legal pickles for its adverts over the years.
In 2000, movie director Robert Zemeckis sued Jack in the Box after the food chain ran an ad with a car antenna ball resembling the mascot’s head. When the ball washed up stranded on an island, Zemeckis claimed that it was appropriating the movie “Castaway.” His complaints did not hold up in court.
In 2012, Mexican fast-food chain Chipotle accused Jack in the Box of improperly using “a Chipotload” in its slogan when advertising a Chipotle sandwich. They settled the lawsuit; Jack in the Box promised to not use it again.
Introducing my Chipotle Chicken Club Combo. It comes with fries, a drink and a Chipotload of flavor. http://t.co/oTgIYpJE
— Jack in the Box (@JackBox) April 20, 2012
It is unclear whether FTX will settle, but hopefully the resolution will come with fries.