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What's in a name, and what's really in a trademark?

A lawsuit from earlier this year raised the age-old question: What’s in a name?

Especially when that name is trademarked.

The restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill sued fast casual salad chain Sweetgreen, over the latter’s use of the word "chipotle." At issue was a dish on Sweetgreen’s menu called the "Chipotle Chicken Salad Bowl," which Chipotle, the restaurant, said infringed on its trademark. In response to being sued, and in an effort to resolve the suit, Sweetgreen changed the name of its dish to "Chicken + Chipotle Pepper Bowl."

The whole episode got us thinking about trademarks, especially when the trademarked word or phrase is something that can be used in other contexts, like the word "chipotle."

So to help get some answers, The Show spoke with David Franklyn, a law professor specializing in Intellectual Property and Trademark Law at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Franklyn is also director of the McCarthy Institute for Intellectual Property and Technology Law there.

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.