Dethroned: Swiss chain Burek King loses court battle against Burger King

Dethroned: Swiss chain Burek King loses court battle against Burger King

Four years since opening their first restaurant in Lucerne, it seems the crown has sat too heavily on the kings of burek: the Swiss Federal Administrative Court in St. Gallen has ruled that Burek King cannot use its name and brand because it is too similar to the American fast food chain Burger King.

Burek King versus Burger King: two restaurants vie for naming rights

At a meeting on June 13, the Federal Administrative Court ruled that Burek King was unable to use its branding because its name and logo are too similar to that of Burger King. According to The Local, the chain of restaurants can continue to operate as usual, just under a different name.

Burek King was founded in Lucerne in 2020 by entrepreneurs Bekim Limani and Fatmir Mehmedi, selling the Turkish and Balkan classic of the same name - which is a pastry pancake stuffed with meat and vegetables. Speaking to 20 Minuten back in February, they claimed that they didn’t notice that their name was similar to Burger King until it was pointed out to them by customers.

A year after they were founded, the pair received a cease and desist letter from Burger King, and the Federal Institute of Intellectual Property upheld their complaint, only granting the restaurant a restricted licence. The two then appealed the ruling: “We thought it was ridiculous then and thought that Burger King would never approach a small business like us…We don't have the same financial resources as they do. For Burger King, it's child's play" the pair noted. 

Two fast food brands are too similar, Swiss court rules

At the ruling, the court argued that the names and brands are similar enough to be confused, with both having BK as an acronym and starting with a “Bu” and ending with a “King.” Both logos also use the symbol of a crown.

They added that if diners get the names confused - and are surprised when their Whopper turns out to be a delicious flaky pastry - people could wrongly believe that Burger King was trying to branch out into the burek business. Therefore, they ruled against the appeal, concluding that Burger King could take advantage of its greater notoriety and the fact that its registration in 1999 was far ahead of Burek King.

Thumb image credit: NeydtStock /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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