In a move that…oh let’s face it…shouldn’t surprise anyone who even remotely follows the exploits of various food corporations, Subway through their parent company Doctor’s Associates Inc, has apparently decided to trademark the phrase “footlong”. (found by looking at Trademark Electronic Search System and doing a basic search on the word “footlong”)
Word Mark: FOOTLONG
Goods and Services IC 043. US 100 101. G & S: Restaurant Services.
FIRST USE: 19670801.
FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19670801
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 77752328
Filing Date June 4, 2009
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Owner (APPLICANT) Doctor’s Associates Inc. CORPORATION FLORIDA Suite 306 300 South Pine Island Road Plantation FLORIDA 33324
Attorney of Record Valerie A. Pochron
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE
But they wouldn’t try to enforce this trademark, would they? I mean really, the term existed long before Fred De Luca and Peter Buck (the founders of Subway) had the revolutionary idea of providing remarkably mediocre sandwiches to everyone by over-franchising their brand.
Yeah, they kinda would.
The Coney Island Drive Inn, a restaurant in Brooksville, Florida, has been selling 12-inch hot dogs — the restaurant calls them “footlongs” — for more than 40 years. Its Web site is gotfootlongs.com.
Last week, the restaurant got a letter from a lawyer representing Subway, which, as you may have heard, sells 12-inch sandwiches for five bucks.
After explaining that Subway “has applied for the trademark FOOTLONG (TM) in association with sandwiches,” the letter says:
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.
Dear folks at Subway and Doctor’s Associates Inc.,
This is one of the many reasons people are revolted by your companies. 1) You did nothing to earn that trademark, as you did not invent the idea of the “footlong” sandwich. 2) “Footlong” was already in the public domain. You undoubtedly knew both of these points, and proceeded to submit the trademark anyways and then sought to threaten small businesses with legal actions under the guise of protecting a trademark that you didn’t earn.
As some folks say, that’s some cold shit right there, Subway.
It never looks good when a 9 billion dollar company pushes around the little guy. Less so when its done in the name of greed.