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Chipotle Is Crying Fowl at Sweetgreen for Stealing Its Name The Mexican food chain is suing the salad and bowls chain for its new menu item, the 'Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl.'

By Jonathan Small

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You can call your new burrito bowl whatever you'd like — just don't call it the "Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl."

That's the latest gauntlet thrown by Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc, which is suing its fast-casual restaurant rival Sweetgreen Inc in California for trademark infringement.

Chipotle lawyers showed up in a federal court on Tuesday, claiming that Sweetgreen's new menu item, the "Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl," crosses the line.

Chipotle argues that Sweetgreen's burrito bowl is "very similar and directly competitive" with its own. They said the item had similar ingredients, such as chicken, rice, and black beans.

Moreover, by using the word chipotle in its marketing, Sweetgreen is "making prominent use of the famous Chipotle trademark."

Chipotle, the spice, is a Mexican powder made from dried, smoked jalapeno peppers.

Sweetgreen said it does not comment on pending litigation. But its shares fell more than 10% today.

Related: 'Shoot Them': Disgruntled Customers Attack Chipotle Workers Who Won't Give Them Extra Cheese

Sweetgreen just introduced the burrito bowl last month

Sweetgreen, known for its healthy salads and grain bowls, has been on a mission to introduce "heartier" items to its menu offerings.

According to a press release from the company, internal studies found that their customers preferred chicken as their protein by 70%.

"The Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl is our answer to heartier meal options," said Nicolas Jammet, sweetgreen Co-Founder and Chief Concept Officer. "Inspired by bold chipotle spices, this protein-heavy option balances a brand new flavor profile for sweetgreen."

The product was introduced on March 30.

But Chipotle is not happy with the name. In a lawsuit, the company claimed they contacted Sweetgreen to cease and desist.

They even offered a new name suggestion — "Chicken Bowl with chipotle" (lower case C)

Sweetgreen did not seem too sweet on that and failed to respond.

Jonathan Small

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Founder, Write About Now Media

Jonathan Small is an award-winning author, journalist, producer, and podcast host. For 25 years, he has worked as a sought-after storyteller for top media companies such as The New York Times, Hearst, Entrepreneur, and Condé Nast. He has held executive roles at Glamour, Fitness, and Entrepreneur and regularly contributes to The New York Times, TV Guide, Cosmo, Details, Maxim, and Good Housekeeping. He is the former “Jake” advice columnist for Glamour magazine and the “Guy Guru” at Cosmo.

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