I previously wrote about the decision by USA Subs in New Hampshire to trademark the term “steak bomb,” despite it being a staple of many New England sub-shops. Even more intriguing was their decision to send a cease-and-desist letter to their nearest competitor, asking them to take the steak bomb off their menu.

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Since writing about this story, I’ve been overwhelmed by the response. My post about the steak bomb has been by far the most popular post I’ve ever written. It’s been viewed well-over 1,000 times and there have been 15 comments left on the story, many from Derry, NH where USA Subs is located.

So Good readers are not mincing words about what they think, expressing their anger and outrage at the audacity of USA Subs in trying to patent the steak bomb. Take a look at some of the comments left on my original post:

“USA SUBS owners are arrogant jerks and everyone should join me in boycotting this place.” – Joe Alexanian

“All I know is the nurses at Parkland Medical Center will no longer be eating at USA Subs.” – Carol S.

“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.” – Matthew Shears

“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, people would be more forgiving.” – Gregg

Even Tim Farris, the owner of Great American Subs, who received a cease and desist order from USA Subs asking them to take the steak bomb off their menu, has left a comment here at So Good. He expresses his disappointment over the situation but is urging consumers to not be so harsh towards USA 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.” – Tim Farris (Owner, Great American Subs)

As if that wasn’t enough, someone has purchased the domain name steakbomb.com and is using the page to highlight the absurdity of USA Subs attempts to own the name:

“The purpose of this website is to educate people about steak bombs and have a laugh over the mistake made by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in issuing a trademark that will eventually be dissolved. Why? Because steak bombs are a staple of life in New England, and because a New Hampshire-based sub shop pulled one over on the United States Patent and Trademark Office by trademarking the name ‘steak bomb’. This is right up there with trying to trademark ‘lobster roll’.”

Even more hilariously ironic for USA Subs, this bone-headed decision comes right as they are trying to go from a one-shop operation to a full-fledged franchise. On their website, they call themselves “The Home of the Steak Bomb” and offer information on franchise opportunities.

One has to wonder, who would buy a franchise from owners who have displayed an uncanny ability to piss off the residents and customers in their own city with arrogant and idiotic business decisions? “Hey everyone, our company is pissing people off and bloggers can’t stop talking about our reckless business practices…don’t you want one of our franchises?”

USA Subs clearly underestimated the impact of this decision, probably assuming it would barely be noticed. As steakbomb.com and blog posts here and on other blogs prove, in the age of the internet, you can’t attempt to push around your competitors and take ownership of a widely-served sandwich without the world finding out about it and taking notice.

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9 Responses

  1. Jared from subway

    OK, enough is enough… Subway’s stock is down 20% since this story first aired. I’m so depressed I feel like packing on a few pounds and then suing USA Subs for attempted murder. Silly huh? Kinda like sending out a “cease and desist” letter to another sub shop in a different zip code for selling a STEAK BOMB. Oops… Am I allowed to use that term?

    Reply
  2. Donald Trump

    People often ask me for advice on how to be successful. “Is there a secret?” they say.

    As we all know, real success comes slowly and is due to a number of different factors all coming together over a period of years. Being successful takes intelligence, natural talent, knowledge, skill, hard work, smart choices, persistence and luck.

    Although there is no real shortcut, there is a secret: a secret so powerful that you can use it to open doors that might otherwise be closed, and to influence people to help you time and again. In fact, I would go as far as to say that this is the secret that has a lot to do with my success.

    The secret is simple: Steak Bombs

    Reply
  3. Melvin

    I just heard about this story from my son on Thursday who attends Londonderry High School. Apparently his teacher in business management was discussing this topic to the class. My son, says that the entire Londonderry football team eats at Great America Subs and the backup QB works there. My son also claims that USA subs was planning on opening a franchise right down the road from Great America Subs and he found out from his best friend Alex’s mother. Friday night at the Lancers game (we lost 31-7) I was talking to quite a few parents in the Lancer cheering section and they also had heard this rumor. This is what the folks around town apparently believe to be the real motive behind the trademark. It will be interesting in the coming months to see if these folks at USA Subs are really as sleazy as the town of Londonderry are portraying them to be. The folks in this town are very protective of their local businesses. This could make for an even more interesting rivalry come mack plaque weekend. The battle of Londonderry vs Derry, Blue vs Red, Great America vs USA, boy is local politics fun.

    Reply
  4. 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
  5. joedavef@yahoo.com'
    Rocky

    Karl,

    Thanks, you have inspired me. I would like to purchase a franchise from you and join the steak bomb war. I can see it now USA Subs the owner of the original Steak Bomb. OH No you didn’t invent it? SO you just like the name and figured you could flex your muscles a little and steal it away from everyone else. I take it back I would rather own a Joe lunchbox Sub Shop than a USA Subs franchise. Maybe you should have thought this one through before acting so childishly

    Reply
  6. lucas.chute@gmail.com'
    ruca bangs

    Dear Donald Trump

    You have a way with words.

    I want to ask out your daughter. Can you tell me her number?

    Reply
  7. Mary Bellis

    Top 5 Inventions of all time
    Here are the most popular inventions researched by our readers.

    1. The Telephone
    The telephone is an instrument that converts voice and sound signals into electrical impulses for transmission by wire to a different location, where another telephone receives the electrical impulses and turns them back into recognizable sounds. In 1875, Alexander Graham Bell built the first telephone that transmitted electrically the human voice.

    2. The Steak Bomb
    A Steak Bomb is a hot submarine sandwich found in most pizza and sub shops throughout the New England area of the United States. This popular sandwich has a reputation for being overstuffed and very messy to eat. Karl Kuceris was a pioneer back in the late 1900′s who invented the Steak Bomb in 1986 upon opening a sandwich shop called, USA Subs. There have been many attempts to duplicate the Steak Bomb most notably another sub shop owner Tim Ferris of Great America Subs who also claimed to be the home of the world famous steak bomb. This created quite a legal battle and media circus in August of 2007.

    3. Television
    4. The Automobile
    5. The Cotton Gin

    Reply
  8. Johnny Walker

    This is truly a “GREAT AMERICA”. Where else in the world can you have a STEAK BOMB WAR. There are people in other countries that would never have the luxury of even eating a great tasting sub like the one Great America produces every day. Where else would you have (EVIL Karl) – The pocket protecting pencil head geek VS (GOOD Tim) “The All American” Ferris. Every time I walk in Great America Subs I can hear the Hulkster’s theme music ringing in my ear, “I am a real american figting for the rights of every man.” Hey Tim, have you thought about running for President of the United States of America in ’08 and if so what would your campaign slogan be? We already know Karl’s. “Read my lips, no new STEAK BOMBS!”

    Reply
  9. Roger Goodell

    Reliable sources are telling me that Karl Kuceris of USA Subs hired a videographer earlier this week to spy at Great America Subs in Londonderry. Apparently, he was secretly video taping during a very busy lunch rush the techniques of Tim Ferris while making sandwiches such as: The Italian Sub, The Tuna Pocket, and even The Steak Bomb. This story gets even more disturbing. If this video tape proves that Karl is guilty of spying, the National Sub Committee (NSC) could penalize USA Subs by taking away his rights to the Steak Bomb. I will keep you updated on this story as more information comes available. Not only could he lose his rights to the Steak Bomb, but also a conditional cold sub as well. The NSC is planning a press conference later this afternoon.

    Reply

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