— Karen Brennan, Attorney
Burger King’s latest commercial presents a new approach to advertising in the burger wars – honesty; admitting they “stole” McDonald’s breakfast sandwich idea. In the commercial, the creepy-looking King scales a fence and breaks into McDonald’s headquarters in the middle of the night to steal the recipe for the Sausage McMuffin with Egg breakfast sandwich. The commentator notes “it’s not that original, but it’s super affordable.”
The commercial is causing some debate on blogs (for examples, click here) where people are wondering how Burger King is getting away with this (i.e., blatantly “stealing” McDonald’s recipe and copying it). I believe the recipe the King steals answers the question – sausage, egg and cheese on a muffin.
This is not a secret recipe or a trade secret protected by the company at all costs, nor is it protectable. Anyone who has had one knows exactly what is in it. In my opinion, Burger King just found a creative way to offer a competitive product at a lower price while, at the same time, getting a lot of people to talk about it.