LOS ANGELES (CN) – The Subway sandwich franchise violates the Godzilla trademark in its new national TV commercials that show the monster attacking a Japanese city, then endorsing the “$5 footlong” sandwich “by spreading his hands a foot apart,” trademark-holder Toho claims in Federal Court.
Toho claims that Subway’s corporate parent, Doctor’s Associates, refused its demand to stop the infringing commercials, but continued showing them during this year’s NCAA basketball tournament, on “American Idol” and other shows, on network, cable and satellite TV.
The McCarthy Mambro Bertino advertising firm created the commercial for Subway, which has a $500 million annual advertising budget and more than $10 billion in annual sales, Toho says. “The Godzilla character is the centerpiece of the commercial,” says Toho, which demands disgorgement of unjust profits, damages, and an injunction.
Godzilla was created in 1954, known as Gojira in Japan. The monster was awakened from his bed under the ocean by the detonation of an atomic bomb. The first Godzilla movie, “Godzilla, King of the Monsters,” was released in the United States in 1956. Twenty-seven sequels have been released.