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Subway Says Other 'Footlong' Sandwich Sellers Violating Its Trademark

"You are hereby put on notice to cease and desist from using FOOTLONG (TM) association with sandwiches. You must immediately remove all references to FOOTLONG (TM) in association with sandwiches."

12inch If you sell sandwiches that happen to be, oh, 12 inches long, and you dare to refer to said sandwiches as being a "footlong," then Subway would like to have a word with you. NPR reports that last week, shops calling their sandwiches "footlongs" began receiving this cease and desist letter (key language highlighted above) from Subway demanding a halt to this alleged misconduct and explaining that Subway "has applied for the trademark FOOTLONG (TM) in association with sandwiches."

One of the C&D letters was sent to The Coney Island Drive Inn in Brooksville, Florida, which has been selling 12-inch hot dogs that it dares to calls "footlongs" for more than 40 years. Subway says that letter was sent in error as it is only trying to trademark the term for sandwiches, not hot dogs.

Subway's trademark applications for "footlong" are now being considered by the Patent and Trademark Office.  Brett Trout of Blawg IT finds Subway's arguments unpersuasive, and writes that "federal trademark law prohibits federal trademark registrations on words which, when used in connection with the goods, are merely descriptive. A cursory Google search reveals over 6,000 uses of the words 'footlong sandwich' apart from the term 'Subway.'”

Posted by Bruce Carton on May 17, 2010 at 02:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)


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