What is a steak bomb? As a New England boy I know the answer to this question: It’s a sandwich that is overstuffed with steak, cheese, salami (or pepperoni), peppers, onions and mushrooms. You travel around New England and you come across this sandwich somewhat frequently, at many different delis.

So what did USA Subs in Derry, NH do? They went to the U.S. patent office and had the term “steak bomb” trademarked. Then they promptly fired off a letter to their nearest competitor asking them to take the steak bomb off their menu.

But their competitor, Great America Subs (are all New Hampshire sub shops so uber-patriotic?) is crying foul. Timothy Faris, the owner of the store remarks:

“I think whoever let this trademark go through in Washington, D.C., probably had never been to New England and didn’t realize that every sub shop has a steak bomb”

Yet another case of out-of-touch Washington bureaucrats. Hey bureaucrats! Get your ass up to New England and eat a steak bomb!

I guess I would like to take this opportunity to announce that I am filing a patent to trademark “turkey sandwich” and “ham sandwich.” You can still sell those sandwiches at your store, you just have to call them something else. Good luck with that deli owners.

(Also, for those of you keeping sandwich score at home, yes, this makes 4 of my last 6 posts that are about sandwiches.)

24 Responses

  1. Joe Alexanian

    USA SUBS owners are arrogant jerks and everyone should join me in boycotting this place.

    Reply
  2. Brian

    Someone was allowed to have the trademark for 11 years…look it up Joe Alexanian from Derry, NH. They were a Florida company.

    Reply
  3. Matthew Shears

    There’s a big difference between owning a trademark and actually enforcing it. The company in Florida, I’m sure never sent out “cease and desist” orders to their local competition, which is exactly what those clowns at USA Subs did. This is why people in Derry, Londonderry, Windham and the surrounding towns are boycotting USA Subs. If USA Subs wanted to prevent the competition from selling Steak Bombs, they could have simply done it the honest way and made a better one…

    Reply
  4. Dave C.

    It’s been rumored that USA Subs purchased the trademark rights from the Florida company. What’s funny is USA Subs advertises itself as a franchise, but there is only 1 store in operation, in Derry. Maybe the owner was frustrated that he wasn’t able to sell any franchises and made a stupid move out of frustration. Either way, I doubt any prospective franchise owner would want to associate themselves with this company now. It’s risky enough to invest in an unproven franchise, let alone one that would ultimately jeopardize your big investment by making such foolish decisions at the top.

    Reply
  5. Carol S.

    All I know is the nurses at Parkland Medical Center will no longer be eating at USA Subs. USA Subs was complaining about advertising by their competitor. I live in Derry and I’d never even heard of Great American Subs, so they can’t be adverising very much. Although my husband and I will probably try them out now.

    Reply
  6. Tim Ferris, owner Great America Subs

    Although I disagree with the letter that was sent to me and the method with which the trademark was handled, I still don’t think that Karl at USA SUBS should be treated so harshly. The truth is he did help myself and Mike C., get our business started and he is an extremely hard working guy. A local advertising company is partly to blame for this mess, they went ahead and put both subshops on the cover of their monthly issue. Great America had no knowledge whatsoever that USA Subs was going to be on the cover and if we had we would never have put our company on the cover, also. We have always been respectful not to advertise in Derry, which is USA Subs location. The advertising company later apologized for their error, but apparently the damage had been done. Great America holds no ill will toward USA Subs and does not support any boycott or foolishness. We hold Karl and his operation in the highest regard. Karl was and is greatly responsible for the success that we now enjoy today. We just wish it hadn’t gotten so out of hand, and that Karl would have communicated with us and then he would have realized we didn’t design the ad or choose the placement of it. The sending of a cease and desist order only further exasperated an already volatile situation, which we believe could have been prevented. Strong arming and bullying the competition is never the appopriate course of action to take.

    Reply
  7. Jack R.

    What really troubles me in researching this story, is the Fact that the Derry subshop is franchising out all across New Hampshire. If they don’t agree with another stores advertising methods will they continue to send out cease and desist orders? Clearly they are choosing the wrong state to operate in, if this is their method of operation. NH citizens take great pride in being the Live Free or Die state and don’t take kindly to operations that choose these methods. But fortunately, we the consumers have the final say and can speak loudly with our wallets.

    Reply
  8. Jack R.

    I just visited usasubs.com and noticed on their website that they claim to be “The home of the Steak Bomb”. So let me get this straight they are complaining that another company claims to be the home of the Bomb, but they in turn also claim to be the home. This is so hypocritical of them, I mean D’Angelos has been selling Steak Bombs since the early ’70s and they don’t go around trying to shut other businesses down. It’s called advertising, every smart business owner does it.. Wake up!!

    Reply
  9. Gregg

    The most troubling aspect of this story to everyone that I talk to, is the fact that USA Subs is somehow trying to justify this ridiculous trademark and subsequent cease and desist order. If the owners would simply come out and admit the stupidity of their error, then people would be more forgiven. By singling out just one subshop makes them appear to be even MORE reckless as a potential franchise, and the fact that they don’t see this is baffling. If they didn’t like their competitors advertising methods, they should have thought up a million better, and more creative ways to counterback. Instead they decided to flex their muscles and get lawyers involved. One has to ask, who is the brains behind this operation. The owners are listed as Karl, Keith and Russell, but Moe, Larry and Curly seems more appropriate.

    Reply
  10. Jason

    As a former USA Subs employee, I can say first hand that Karl is a wonderful, down to earth, humble and easy to work for guy. The people that I hear talking around town can’t believe that Karl was responsible for this. More likely his son who has less experience in business and would be more apt to make reckless decisions was probably responsible for this. From all accounts he is more aggresive by nature. Aggresiveness is good to a point, but there’s a fine line between aggresive and irresponsible, which even I have to admit was crossed.

    Reply
  11. Mason

    A lady at Giovanni’s in Londonderry told me there is a website called http://www.steakbomb.com and it is pretty funny, it even has a link to the channel 9 newscast. I wonder why USA Subs didn’t purchase the domain name steakbomb.com when they trademarked the word. Their incompetence as a franchise truly is the gift that just keeps on giving.

    Reply
  12. Cheryl

    The son is cute! Makes my day when I see his smile :) Nice arms too…used to be on days of our lives. Looks like his father. They are nice people, work hard, and have a great family there. Leave them alone Jason.

    Reply
  13. Brian M (used to own a few stores of my own)

    I”m curious. Does anybody know the answers to these questions?
    Can a petition be filed to cancel the trademark if it had a previous owner for 11 years?
    If so, what is the process , how long does it take and how much does it cost?
    If Usa Subs loses it,can some other company in or out of New England register it.
    Can all sub shops in New England legally have joint ownership to keep someone else from getting it?
    That would be cool.

    Reply
  14. Stacy

    I realize what usasubs did was terrible, and no small business should have to endure what mr.ferris has had to, but you have to look at the possibility that the lawyers were responsible and not mr.kuceiris. the man is trying to develop a franchise after operating one store for so many years, i can imagine the stress that must be involved, and sometimes stress can lead to irrational decisions. let’s hope that usasubs can be giving a second chance and i hope they are, because there food is great. i believe that mr.kuceiris will now make more thoughtful decisions going forward.

    Reply
  15. Kevin

    I work for the company that sells the steak to both stores. I can’t mention the name because my bosses might get up set. This is a big joke at work because both stores are selling more steak than ever.
    My bosses are very happy. I hope I get a good Christmas bonus because of this .
    THanks guys,keep up the good work, at least from now until Christmas.
    GOD BLESS AMERICA (and USA ) .

    Reply
  16. Paul

    Yes, a petition can be filed up to 5 years from the date of registration, regardless of ownership. There is something in the trademark industry called “generic terms”, which this may very well fall under. Intellectual Property attorneys are very expensive, so the owner(s) at Great America Subs would be best served to have their lawyer(s) contact the many other subshops that sell “steak bombs”, because it may be in their best interest to get involved and possibly file a joint petition to cancel, just in case Usa Subs does indeed become a franchise and decides down the road to enforce this “generic” trademark again. Although Usa Subs too, would spend thousands if they actually wanted to go through the whole process of trying to prevent any subshop from using the term “steak bomb”, and ultimately millions of dollars if they tried to go after every subshop individually. The cancellation process does have to be filed through the court system, because trademarks generally aren’t voided simply because people don’t agree with them. If down the road Usa Subs starts opening other stores, I am sure D’angelo’s lawyers would then get involved, in the best interest of their future franchises, and easily have this trademark removed. I am sure that they just like the rest of the region, right now realizes that Usa Subs is a joke.

    Reply
  17. Bud Dunnell

    I read about this folley about the trademark of the “steak bomb” by USA subs in the Hippo this week, and I simply have to comment on it. What were they thinking. The steak bomb has been around for over 50 years. Yes, when I was a teenager, I had my first steak bomb at Demino’s Subs in Revere, Mass. This was not the only place that served up the steak bomb in Revere, Malden, East Boston, the Southie, and other towns during the 1950’s. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t buy a “sub” in New Hampshire at that time, for they simply didn’t exist then. I believe subs in New Hampshire were called Grinders at that time, and they were not even made the same. Come on USA subs, stop this ridiculous trademark nonsence. Long live the true steak bomb.

    Reply
  18. Kevin

    I do not believe this! we just got a denial letter from the USPTO for our application to TM the name of our company/product The Bomb Steak. the reasoning was it was too close to steak bomb and may cause confusion?!
    The Bomb Steak is carne asada and has nothing to with a steak sandwhich. would anyone here actually buy a 12″ plastic tube filled with carne asada resembling a pipe bomb, do so by accident thinking you were buying a steak sandwhich?
    now i understand the absurdity of the USPTO allowing this TM of such a generic term.

    Reply
  19. Patrick

    I lived in Derry, but grew up in Methuen…I used to get a steak bomb over 35 years ago long before usa subs (by the way there subs suck) at Atomic subs in Lawrence, MA. There subs were the BOMB.

    Reply
  20. ken land

    In Philadelphia and all over South Jersey these things have been called “Steak Subs” from time immemorial. Squirt some cheap cheese on them and they’re “Cheesesteaks.”

    Reply

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