Jack in the Box Inc. agreed last week to settle a trademark lawsuit filed by Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. over the use of the word “chipotle” in advertising materials.
The case, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Colorado, was dismissed on Aug. 7 following the settlement agreement. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Initially filed in September 2012, Denver-based Chipotle claimed that San Diego-based Jack in the Box violated trademark laws with its use of the word “chipotle” in marketing a Chipotle Chicken Club Combo limited-time offer.
The company charged that Jack in the Box used all capital letters in a similar font and color, with the word “chipotle” roughly twice the height and size of “chicken” and “club” in some ads.
Additionally, Jack in the Box used the variation “chipotload” in some ads, which indicated a connection to Chipotle Mexican Grill, according to the lawsuit, which sought unspecified damages.
In a counterclaim, Jack in the Box officials denied the allegation and argued that the word chipotle is generic for food items flavored with chipotle peppers or sauces made from those peppers and that there would be no consumer confusion.
The Chipotle Chicken Club sandwich was a limited-time offer that has since expired.