Sweetgreen Backs Down After Chipotle Files Lawsuit

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Robert McGreevy Contributor
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Salad maker Sweetgreen has backed down after competitor Chipotle filed a lawsuit on Tuesday over Sweetgreen’s new “Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl.”

Chipotle’s complaint alleged that Sweetgreen was “using Chipotle’s famous CHIPOTLE® trademark to sell a product that is very similar and directly competitive to Chipotle’s chicken burrito bowl.” Chipotle claimed that the “copycat” product uses Chipotle’s proprietary trademark in marketing and advertising promotions, and that the ad font was too similar to Chipotle’s.

The companies “settled amicably” by Thursday, coinciding with National Burrito Day, after Sweetgreen decided to rename the dish in question, according to Reuters. The dish will henceforth be known as the “Chicken + Chipotle Pepper Bowl,” CNBC reports. In its complaint, Chipotle had offered other “more appropriate” names, including “chicken bowl with chipotle.”

Sweetgreen’s efforts to introduce new menu items are part of their spring menu change which include other hearty dishes such as the Spring Asparagus Salad, Hummus Crunch Salad and Spinach Florentine Bowl.

The expanding menu stands in contrast to a shrinking stock valuation, as Sweetgreen’s shares have dropped 86 percent from the company’s 2021 initial public offering.

Though Chipotle’ sales and shares are significantly higher than those of its lunchtime competitor, recent trends that show consumers spending less money on dinner outside the home may force Chipotle and companies like it to hold intellectual property close to the vest, going to bat for what they see as integral trademarks.