Chipotle and Sweetgreen Play Chicken Over Trademark
Just days after a complaint was filed against restaurant chain Sweetgreen by Chipotle Mexican Grill for trademark infringement, dilution, and deceptive business practices, Sweetgreen has changed the name of its offending product in order to reach possible settlement.
Last week, Chipotle filed a complaint against Sweetgreen for naming its new menu item “Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl”. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. et al. v. Sweetgreen Inc., case number 8:23-cv-00596, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Chipotle has numerous registered trademarks for variations on the word CHIPOTLE in relation to its restaurant and food, including stylized versions in various fonts. Prior to filing the complaint, Chipotle sent Sweetgreen a cease-and-desist letter asking the salad chain to drop the word “chipotle” from the name, which is the usual practice in trademark related lawsuits.
While Sweetgreen did not initially respond to the cease-and-desist letter, it changed the offending name to “Chicken + Chipotle Pepper Bowl” two days after the lawsuit against it was filed. Sweetgreen told news sources it decided to rename the bowl in order to focus on the business and serving its customers healthy food. “In order to focus on the business and continue serving our guests without distraction, we have decided to rename our bowl to the Chicken + Chipotle Pepper Bowl as part of a tentative agreement to resolve the lawsuit,” said a spokeswoman for the salad chain to NPR.
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