Tasty #Burger Chain Claims #Chipotle Has Infringed its #Trademark

By Joseph Mandour on August 12, 2016

cheeseburgerOrange County – Chipotle’s announcement about opening a new burger chain this fall with sustainable ingredients and beef raised free from hormones and antibiotics was met with critics. Their beef? A competitor is claiming trademark infringement.

Chipotle’s branding for its new chain consists of a red banner with white text of the chain’s trademark: “Tasty Made.” The East Coast burger chain whose branding consists of a red banner with white text of the its trademark “Tasty Burger,” is claiming trademark infringement.

Tasty Burger opened in 2010, operating out of six East Coast locations and serving as the official burger of the Boston Red Sox. The company filed a trademark application in 2010, which covers the words “Tasty Burger” inside a stylized banner (no reference to the use of the color red). The trademark was placed on the Supplemental Register, covering trademarks that are at least somewhat descriptive. Once a company gains enough distinctiveness, which Tasty Burger CEO David DuBois claims the company has achieved, it can file a trademark to the Principal Register.

Chipotle argues that the trademark office would not register the Tasty Burger trademark to the principal register due to it being “merely descriptive and not enforceable,” and as a result the company fully intends “to move forward with the name Tasty Made for our burger restaurant and strongly believe that we are on solid footing in doing so.”

A Chipotle spokesperson said, “We believe there is sufficient difference between the names and logo marks so as not to cause consumer confusion, and we believe both brands can co-exist.”

DuBois said after Chipotle’s new chain announcement his company received several emails and texts from customers saying Chipotle took their name, arguing the branding is similar enough to cause customer confusion. The similarities are especially unusual considering the red logos with white text. DuBois also claimed Chipotle would be familiar with Tasty Burger branding given many of its locations are near Chipotle (even sharing a landlord at one location) and because the legal team would’ve needed to search for any existing registrations surrounding the phrase Tasty Made.

Tasty Burger sent Chipotle a cease and desist letter on July 19, 2016, with no response. DuBois said he will work to protect the company’s trademark, hinting at a potential lawsuit.

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