Subway: That’s Our “Footlong”
Subway, a large sandwich franchise, had been sending cease and desist letters to small sub shops. The full text, which can be found here (PDF courtesy of NPR’s Plant Money), cites Subway’s recent application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the word “FOOTLONG” in reference to its signature 12-inch subs. The problem? Subway also sent a letter to the Coney Island Drive Inn, a restaurant in Brooksville, Florida, which sells footlong hotdogs. Subway Spokesperson Kevin Kane claims that this was a clerical error and that Subway is only trying to enforce its trademark in reference to sandwiches.
“Any legal process we go through is to protect the investment our franchisees have made in the brand,” Kane said to NPR’s Planet Money columnist. However, the USPTO will have to carefully weigh whether a “footlong” is a Subway creation, or whether it is merely descriptive of a sandwich that reaches the 12-inch mark.
By Eric Perrott