Toho sues Subway over unauthorized Godzilla ads

Bloomberg

The Subway sandwich chain is being sued by Toho Co., the maker of Godzilla movies, for allegedly using the prehistoric monster without permission in TV commercials.

Subway “not only intentionally created a character that closely resembles Godzilla in its physical appearance, but placed the character in a setting, a Japanese city under attack, that is widely associated with Toho’s Godzilla films,” the movie maker said in a complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Subway never asked for Toho’s permission to use Godzilla in the commercials for its Five Dollar Footlong sandwich promotion, according to the complaint. The commercials were shown during the NCAA basketball tournament and on programs such as “American Idol,” the most popular entertainment show on television, Toho said. The company seeks up to $150,000 in statutory damages for willful infringement or disgorgement of Subway’s profits from the commercials, as well as other unspecified damages.

A Subway spokesman didn’t return a call to his office.