Traverse City Record-Eagle

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January 4, 2014

Food for Thought trademark fight continues

HONOR — A Benzie County businessman is hitting the highway with his kids to raise awareness about a trademark violation allegation against national restaurant chain Chipotle and the Huffington Post website.

Tim Young, owner of Food for Thought in Honor, believes Chipotle and Huffington Post infringed on his trademarked business name with the launch of a national blog called Food for Thought. The blog advocates for sustainable food practices, which is what Young’s identically named business has done since 1995.

Young this week kicked off a protest trip with his two children, Stella, 13, and Connor, 9, through seven states. The father and children will picket in front of multiple Chipotle restaurants to raise awareness about his complaint.

“The Chipotle accountability tour,” Young said. “I’m going to start in Grand Rapids ... and go to Chicago, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia. We are going to hit as many as we can.

“We are going to picket out front but we are not going to go inside the stores and we are not going trespass,” Young said.

Young pulled his kids out of school for a week for the trip, saying his children will learn a lot about civic engagement from the protests. He sent complaint letters to Huffington Post and Chipotle but received no response.

Chipotle did not respond to a request for comment for this story. Chipotle and Huffington Post also did not respond to requests for comment made by the Record-Eagle for a November story about Young’s complaint.

Young has not filed suit but he believes Chipotle and Huffington Post are following what he’s doing. He said the blog in question used a logo that looked very similar to the one used by his business, but the blog’s logo was changed when he publicly documented the similarities.

“We posted on our blog a logo comparison and, within 24 hours, they completely redesigned their logo,” Young said. “It confirms to me that they are watching.”

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