Sandwiches in the News: Subway attempts to define (and trademark) a sandwich

May 25, 2010

As seen here, international sub sandwich chain Subway is attempting to trademark the term “footlong” in relation to sandwiches.  The company issued a cease and desist letter to a Florida restaurant who was marketing their hot dogs as footlongs.  I don’t really know how they expect people to market 12-inch sandwiches, if not as being a foot long.  Luckily for the restaurant, Subway claimed their letter was a mistake, because hot dogs are not sandwiches.  (For those unfamiliar with copyright law, a word or phrase trademarked in one market can still be used legally in another noncompetitive market.)

We’ve had this discussion before, and the general consensus was that hot dogs should not be considered sandwiches.  However, I do think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that hot dogs are not close enough to sandwiches to be considered a competitor.  Overall, I think this whole plan is ludicrous.  “Footlong” is a descriptor, denoting a sandwich which is twelve inches in length.  Are they going to try to copyright “sub” or “fresh” next?

I thought this entry could use a picture, and here we are.

While we’re talking about what is and isn’t a sandwich, I wanted to mention that this makes 50 posts on Sandwichtalk, which was the minimum I set for myself before I opened the blog up to gyros, wrap sandwiches, burritos, etc.  I’d like some of you guys’ imput on this.  I still plan on reviewing a ton more sandwiches (Potbelly’s, Penn Station Subs, etc.), but these other pseudosandwiches would be mixed in as well.  Please comment to let me know.  Thanks!!

P.S.  The one year anniversary of Sandwichtalk is June 12th.  Mark your calendars.


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