Sheetz Wins Court Battle Against Subway

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Sheetz Wins Court Battle Against Subway

ALTOONA, Pa. -- A Virginia federal judge last week denied Subway's request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop Sheetz Inc. from promoting its $4 footlong campaign, the Altoona Mirror reported.

Subway officials sent a letter dated Jan. 22, to Sheetz requesting the Altoona, Pa.-based convenience chain cease and desist its campaign. Subway alleged the advertising was in violation of the Subway trademark and copyright laws, and said the Sheetz campaign was confusing to Subway customers. Subway is running a $5 footlong campaign.

Sheetz contended the campaign was not in violation of any trademark or copyright of Subway, but rather, it highlighted footlongs that Sheetz offers at a lower price than Subway and has since December 2006, said Monica Jones, Sheetz spokeswoman.

Judge Claude M. Hilton of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia denied Subway's request after a hearing last week, according to the report.

Sheetz officials felt vindicated by the judge's ruling, said Roberta Jacobs-Meadway, outside trademark counsel for Sheetz. "We viewed the Sheetz campaign as being extremely appropriate and not intended to cause any confusion. There is another company selling sandwiches for $5, and Sheetz is selling [sandwiches] for $4," Jacobs-Meadway said. "It is very easy to differentiate. The Sheetz sign is very well defined as to what product you are getting and who you are getting it from."

Jones agreed, saying "The judge stated the ads were not confusing toward customers of either establishment because the Sheetz ads clearly included the Sheetz logo."

Neither a corporate spokesman nor the attorney who represented Connecticut-based Subway returned voice mail messages left by the Altoona Mirror.

Subway is the world's largest sandwich chain with 30,591 locations in 87 countries. Sheetz Inc. operates 351 convenience stores in six states.