Subway lawyers are sending out cease and desist letters to sandwich shops saying:
"Subway has applied for the trademark FOOTLONG (TM) in association with sandwiches...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."
NPR contacted Subway for an explanation and this was the response:
"Any legal process we go through is to protect the investment our franchisees have made in the brand," Kane told me. "If 'footlong' is a name that's been associated with us, it would benefit them that we would take an action like this to protect the association."
But Subway's campaign to trademark the term is off to a rocky start. They sent their first letter to a shop that doesn't even sell footlong sandwiches...they sell footlong hotdogs. Subway says the letter was sent in error.