San Antonio-based Whataburger recently announced plans to scrap its iconic “A-Frame” restaurant building design in favor of a more modern footprint. Many Texans, including myself, grew up eating in those restaurants, and have fond memories of frequent Whataburger stops on the way to the coast, on long road trips across Texas, and after many high school football games. Indeed, the “A-Frame” design is about as sacred to many Texans as the Lone Star and the Alamo.

Whataburger founder, Harmon Dobson, secured the first trademark registration for the hamburger restaurant from the Texas Secretary of State in 1950, more than 70 years ago. Whataburger is now one of the most famous brands in Texas. Over the years, Whataburger has secured many additional federal and state trademarks for its brand name and the names of its various sandwiches; however, Whataburger does not appear to have ever secured a federal registration for the design of its distinctive real estate.

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