Does Chipotle’s new “Tasty Made” brand chain rip off another chain? Tasty Burger thinks so

CHLOE
Chipotle on Broadway and 6th. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  chipotle; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty

Chipotle on Broadway and 6th. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s new concept burger joint, Tasty Made, just launched its promotional campaign in advance of the Ohio flagship opening.

As it turns out, there’s another chain with a similar name and logo – and Tasty Burger isn’t happy. Tasty Burger CEO David Dubois said today that Chipotle was infringing on his young brand’s copyright.

Boston-based Tasty Burger started in 2010 with a focus on quality and ethically sourced ingredients, according to their website. The chain has six locations, a contract with Major League Baseball and the very Bostonian honor of being the official burger of the Red Sox.

It doesn’t take a patent lawyer to see that “Tasty Burger” and “Tasty Made” share a name. But what reportedly pushed Dubois over the edge was the similarity of the branding.

A side-by-side comparison of branding for Boston-based Tasty Burger and Chipotle's new concept, Tasty Made. (Courtesy of Tasty Burger)

A side-by-side comparison of branding for Boston-based Tasty Burger and Chipotle's new concept, Tasty Made. (Courtesy of Tasty Burger)

On July 19th, Dubois sent a cease-and-desist letter to Chipotle regarding the similarities between the proposed burger shop’s name and logo and those of six-year-old Tasty Burger.

Chipotle failed to respond and rolled out the marketing campaign anyway.

“Recently, we learned that Chipotle Mexican Grill planned on using the trademark “Tasty Made” in connection with a chain of new burger restaurants,” Dubois said in a statement.

This news was punctuated with the release of a logo and mark for their new endeavor that is unmistakably similar to our own in color, shape and design.”

When asked about the perceived copyright infringement, Chipotle Communications Director, Chris Arnold told Boston.com he saw no conflict.

“The United States Patent and Trademark Office refused to register a trademark for Tasty Burger because it is merely descriptive and not enforceable,” Arnold said in an email. “Beyond that, 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.”

The thing is, Tasty Burger does have patents—in almost forty countries. But according to Eater, the color red is not included in the trademark.

Despite that, Dubois believes Chipotle has intentionally chosen to ignore what he views as copyright infringement.

“Given Chipotle’s refusal to cease interfering with our established trademark rights, we have no choice but to aggressively protect our well established mark,” he said in his written statement.

The first Tasty Made is scheduled to open in Lancaster, Ohio this fall.

Multimedia business & healthcare reporter Chloe Aiello can be reached via email at caiello@denverite.com or twitter.com/chlobo_ilo.

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