–Catlan McCurdy, Attorney

Wintertime in Minneapolis means a number of things for working professionals downtown. It means we have to start driving to work instead of bicycling, we wear Sorel boots and switch out for professional shoes at the office, and we eat almost exclusively at restaurants connected via skyway. For those of you who have never had the pleasure, the second story of downtown Minneapolis is connected through a series of enclosed footbridges. You can practically walk across all of downtown without ever stepping outdoors. In the winter months restaurants on the skyway level flourish due to the heavy foot traffic, and new entrepreneurs seem to appear on a monthly basis.

Enter Ipotli Indian Grill. This new Indian restaurant, located in the North Star Building, recently opened with a name and logo that caught my eye.

Ipoliti Indian Grill

Look familiar?


Now does it look familiar?

Ipotli Indian Grill. Chipotle Mexican Grill. The similarity of the marks seems like a close call to me. Ipotli and Chipotle are slant rhymes, having similar audible qualities, followed by a word describing the ethnic style of food and ending with the same the word, “GRILL.” The designs are both a shade of red and include a drawing of a chili pepper that appears in the center of both marks. The letters in both marks are capitalized and the words INDIAN GRILL and MEXICAN GRILL appearing on the same visual plane with the IPOTLI or CHIPOTLE hovering above.

Not surprisingly our friends at Ipotli have not sought a trademark registration for their mark, while Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. owns two registrations for the above logo in connection with restaurant services and take-out restaurant services. I stopped into Ipotli earlier this week, and guess what services are being provided in connection with the mark? Restaurant services and take-out restaurant services.

Will Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. send Ipotli Indian Grill a cease and desist letter? Did the owners of Ipotli Indian Grill consult a trademark attorney? Only time will tell. According to Ipotli’s Facebook page, the name is based on the following, “I stands for India. POTLI – Carry-out Indian food cooked in Tandoori POT grill.” So where does the LI come from?