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.
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 donâ€™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.