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You Say Twelve Inches, I Say Footlong

Subway Counter
(Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

How long have people been using the term “footlong?”  A national restaurant is now claiming that it’s their term.

When I was growing up, we would go to a restaurant called Earl’s Drive-In  in Chaffee, NY to get a footlong.  It was a hotdog and it was 12 inches long.  That was 25 years ago for me and I know that it was being used long before that.

But now there’s a new lawsuit on the books, after another company was threatened with legal action over the term “footlong.”  Subway Restaurants allegedly sent a cease and desist letter to Casey’s General Stores Inc. telling them to stop using the term in their advertising because they’ve applied for a trademark on it.  Casey’s then turned the tables on Subway and has filed a lawsuit against them.

Granted, Subway uses the term a lot.  They’ve made it famous.  It’s even got a catchy little song to go along with it.  But just because you use something a lot doesn’t make it yours.  I mean, lots of people use the bus everyday.  You don’t see them telling other people that they can’t ride the bus too right?  I use the internet daily.  But I’d never try to say that I was the one who made it famous.  I mean, as long as 12 inches is a foot, anything that’s 12 inches long should be able to be called a footlong.  Right??

 Subway in a legal battle over the term footlong.

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