Advertising Law

A Meaty Dispute: Subway Sues Quiznos Over Video Contest Entries

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Subway has sued competitor Quiznos over the content of homemade videos submitted in a contest and posted to a website.

Quiznos’ contest rules said its sandwiches had to be depicted as superior to Subway’s, the New York Times reports. Subway contends the videos make false claims about its sandwiches, and its rival is responsible for the content.

The videos have been taken off the website, but some can still be found on YouTube.

The winning video from the 2006 contest shows two wagons racing in a downhill derby. The Subway car lobs what appear to be sandwiches at the Quiznos vehicle, to no avail. Finally the Quiznos car, which looks like a meaty sandwich, shoots smoke at Subway car, causing it to overturn. The losing rider concludes, “You’ve got to toast ‘em.”

The suit also targets Quiznos’ own ads, which suggest Subway sandwiches aren’t as meaty.

Quiznos claims it is protected from liability for the videos by the Communications Decency Act, which protects providers of interactive computer services from postings on their websites.

A Connecticut federal judge rejected a motion to dismiss the complaint (PDF) based on Quiznos’ Communications Decency Act defense last April, saying she could not rule on the question before discovery could be completed.

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