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Chipotle and Sweetgreen's short-lived beef over a chicken burrito bowl gets resolved

People walk past a Chipotle store in New York City. The fast casual restaurant known for its burritos and bowls is suing Sweetgreen over alleged trademark infringement.
Michael M. Santiago
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People walk past a Chipotle store in New York City. The fast casual restaurant known for its burritos and bowls is suing Sweetgreen over alleged trademark infringement.

Updated April 6, 2023 at 6:27 PM ET

Sweetgreen, it seems, has turned down the the heat brought on by Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc.'s chicken burrito bowl lawsuit.

The salad chain told NPR it decided to rename its new chipotle chicken menu item, following its fellow fast casual restaurant's legal challenge over the previously named "Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl."

"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," a spokeswoman for Sweetgreen said in a statement to NPR. "Our mission is to bring customers healthy, elevated and craveable menu items that make you feel good. We are looking forward to putting this lawsuit behind us as we continue to connect more people to real food."

In its complaint filed Tuesday, Chipotle had originally accused Sweetgreen of trademark infringement, trademark dilution and deceptive trade practice. The burrito chain claimed that Sweetgreen attempted to profit off Chipotle's near-identical, directly competitive and well-known product.

The salad chain launched its new menu item in late March as part of the company's expansion beyond green salads and warm grain bowls.

Among Chipotle's complaints were that Sweetgreen's menu item features similar ingredients to its own, and that Sweetgreen makes "prominent use "of the famous Chipotle trademark in various marketing channels, as well as a font "near identical to Chipotle's stylized logo." The lawsuit also claimed Sweetgreen's advertisements feature "a background that is nearly identical to Chipotle's trademarked" Adobo Red color — all with the goal of creating a false association with Chipotle.

Social media accounts associated with Sweetgreen appeared to acknowledge customers' close association between the two companies. In response to a comment on Instagram saying "Chipotle who?!" to Sweetgreen's announcement of the new menu item, the restaurant said, "you said it, not us," and included an emoji meant to indicate "zipped lips," the lawsuit alleges.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jaclyn Diaz is a reporter on Newshub.

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