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2016 Firehouse Subs Franchise & Trademarks - Firehouse Subs Franchise & TD Bank - Firehouse Subs Fraud on the USPTO

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2016 Firehouse Subs Franchise & Trademarks;

Does the Franchise and the Trademarks Need a Rescue Squad?

Are the Franchisees' getting burned?

By Author, William H. Rogers

Published Online 08/05/2016 - All Rights Reserved / Registered Copyright(s)

Sub-Title:

2016 Firehouse Subs Fraudulent "Security Interest" Loan  with TD Bank.

PREFACE:

Firehouse Subs "Security Interest" Loan granted by TD Bank purportedly based upon "invalid" and "unenforceable" Trademarks that were "obtained fraudulently" ("collectively, the marks").

INTRODUCTION:

This Investigative Report is about the Firehouse Subs Franchise and the continued deceptive trade practices (fraud) upon Franchisees and upon the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and most recently the herein allegations of fraud on TD Bank regarding a "Security Interest" loan granted and based entirely on the fraudulently obtained "FIREHOUSE" Subs "Trademark Portfolio" as fully listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A".

THE FACTS PATTERN:

The facts pattern in this article shows that TD Bank granted a "Security Interest" Loan Agreement to Firehouse Subs by and through Co-Founders, Chris and Robin Sorensen (under "Power of Attorney") on August 5th 2015 The TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan was exclusively granted based on the fraudulently obtained "FIREHOUSE" Subs "Trademark Portfolio" as completely listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and as generally outlined in the Trademark Portfolio offered in their "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) found in ITEM 13 on Pages 35 thru 37. 

As reported in the last published Investigative Article on June 24th 2016 ALL of the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio as completely listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and as generally offered in their  "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) in ITEM 13 were "obtained" by fraud on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) under the Lanham Act - United States Code 15 by the illicit undertakings of Firehouse Subs, Co-Founders, Robin and Chris Sorensen alongside attorney-client-privileges concerning Intellectual Property Lawyer, Richard S. Vermut.

From the surface it could appear the TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan, as illegally misrepresented and signed-off on solely by Firehouse Subs, Co-Founders, Robin Sorensen ("President" Signor) and Chris Sorensen ("Secretary" Signor) was made to mount a global expansion as it pertains to the word mark "FIREHOUSE" Subs listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A".    Other Franchise Chains have collateralized "Security Interests" Loans on their Trademarks ("Chick-Fil-A") but others have not ("Subway").    The MAJOR difference of other Franchise Food Chains that have collateralized "Security Interests" Loans by using their Trademarks as bank collateral; like "Chick-Fil-A" or "KFC" is that these high profile Franchise Food Chain Trademarks were not "obtained" by fraud on the USPTO and therefore "Chick-Fil-A" or "KFC" and the others are "VALID" and "ENFORCEABLE" nationwide under the Lanham Act - United States Code 15 and thereafter globally by Treatise like the Madrid Protocol.

On the other hand does the TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan and "assignment" of ALL the "Firehouse" Subs Trademark Portfolio as listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" signal that the Firehouse Subs Franchise fiscal and economic stability is in question? Meaning, could the illegally misrepresented Trademark Portfolio "assignment" to TD Bank by Firehouse Subs Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen purportedly indicate the dire need for a "Commercial Restructuring" by Smith Reed, Brian M. Schenker who maybe answering a 911 Rescue Call regarding the Corporation(s)?   Whereas, and in fact Smith Reed, Brian M. Schenker's "Practice Areas" and exclusive expertise is in "Bankruptcy & Commercial Restructuring".

Perhaps, the TD Bank "Security Interest" Agreement is as simple as the Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen cashing in on the whole "Firehouse" Subs Trademark Registration Portfolio that the two Sorensen brothers know were in fact "obtained" by fraud on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

HOWEVER, it should be clearly noted that the illegally misrepresented TD Bank "Security Interest" Agreement entered into by the Florida Business, Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc, "Firehouse Subs" Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen is not that cut and dry of a deal concerning the procurement of a large amount of funds based on the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" under Florida Statute 817.562 Fraud involving a security interest.—

The questions this Investigative Article poses are as follows;

Are the Firehouse Subs, Co-Founders, Robin and Chris Sorensen brazenly forging ahead in expanding and promoting the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Franchise with the fraudulently "obtained" Trademarks ("collectively the marks") listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and continuing for the most part to sell / license "the marks" in and as Royalty Fees in the Franchise Agreement to unsuspecting or gullible Franchisees Nationwide and Internationally? ...OR...are the brothers financially resuscitating the Firehouse Subs Franchise Chain (or filling up their own wallets) behind the scene by signing-off on the illegally misrepresented TD Bank "Security Interest" Agreement?   Either way...as this article title suggests; "Does the Franchise and the Trademarks Need a Rescue Squad?" or "Are the Franchisees getting burned?"...or both?

The TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan and bad-faith "assignment" of the entire "Firehouse" Subs Registered Trademark Portfolio as listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" strongly imply's there is something extremely significant occurring and/or going-on within the Firehouse Subs Franchise Chain.

Article Bullet Points in Factual Overview:

  • FIREHOUSE SUBS, CO-FOUNDERS ROBIN SORENSEN AND CHRIS SORENSEN "OBTAINED" EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEIR BRAND TRADEMARKS ("COLLECTIVELY, THE MARKS") BY FRAUD ON THE US GOVERMENT / UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE (USPTO) / TRADEMARK TRIAL AND APPEAL BOARD (TTAB)

* See the full list of the "trademarks procured by fraud" in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and as generally outlined in the Trademark Portfolio offered in their "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) found in ITEM 13 on Pages 35 thru 37.

* See the Sworn Affidavit (Sworn Testimony) deployed in the Cali Bakers Bar & Grill, Capt. Heath Scurfeild July 2012 Appeals Court Settlement; LINKED HERE.    

Further details in facts and evidentiary Exhibits of "fraud" are outlined below in this Article.

  • FIREHOUSE SUBS, CO-FOUNDERS ROBIN SORENSEN AND CHRIS SORENSEN FRAUDULENT "OBTAINMENT" OF THEIR BRAND TRADEMARKS ("COLLECTIVELY, THE MARKS") VIOLATES FEDERAL LAW 18 U.S.C. § 1001 / THE LANHAM ACT UNITED STATES CODE 15;

* See the June 24th 2016 Blue Mau Mau Article "2016 Firehouse Subs Franchise Trademark Fraud"; LINKED HERE.

  • FIREHOUSE SUBS, CO-FOUNDERS ROBIN SORENSEN AND CHRIS SORENSEN THEN PROCEED TO SELL / LICENSE [INCLUDED IN A 6% NET SALES QUARTLEY *ROYALTY FEE* IMPOSED ON ALL FRANCHISEES] THEIR FRAUDULENTLY "OBTAINED" FIREHOUSE SUBS BRAND TRADEMARKS ("COLLECTIVELY, THE MARKS") TO FRANCHISEES NATIONWIDE / INTERNATIONALLY;

* See Pages 35 thru 37 of the 2016 Firehouse Subs Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD); LINKED HERE.

* See the Exhibit TD Bank Loan Agreement "Security Interest" "Schedule A" Firehouse Subs Trademark Portfolio LINKED HERE.

  • FIREHOUSE SUBS, CO-FOUNDERS ROBIN SORENSEN AND CHRIS SORENSEN WHEN APPLYING AND RECEIVING A TD BANK "SECURITY INTEREST" LOAN ON THE FRAUDULENTLY "OBTAINED" BRAND TRADEMARKS ("COLLECTIVELY, THE MARKS") ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT THAT ILLEGALLY MISREPRESENTS TO TD BANK THAT ALL THE TRADEMARKS ARE "VALID AND ENFORCEABLE" UNDER THE LANHAM ACT - UNITED STATES CODE 15;

* See the Exhibit TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan Agreement stipulations seen on Page #2 Section a.) and b.) LINKED HERE.

* See the Exhibit April 29th 2015 lawsuit in “Opposition” against Firehouse Restaurant and Bar asserting Trademark "infringement" or "likeness of confusion" LINKED HERE.    This recent lawsuit was regarding ALL the "FIREHOUSE Subs" Registered Trademarks and was legally filed on April 29th 2015 before the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) BUT in February 2016 "DROPPED" because the Registered Trademarks were "UNENFORCEABLE" under the rule of law and as a matter of law .    The adjudication, the practice and procedure and the forced legal settlement by Firehouse Subs regarding Columbus Firehouse Restaurant and Bar is in direct contradiction to the Terms in the TD BANK "Security Interests" Agreement.

  • FIREHOUSE SUBS, CO-FOUNDER, ROBIN SORENSEN WHEN APPLYING AND RECEIVING A TD BANK "SECURITY INTEREST" LOAN SIGNS-OFF ON THE LOAN AGREEMENT IN AUGUST 2015 UNDER THE STIPULATION IN SUB-SECTION (f) THAT STATES THAT THERE WERE "NO" "ACTIONS COMMENCED" "WITH REFERENCE TO THE TRADEMARKS" WHEN IN FACT FIREHOUSE SUBS WAS IN AN ON-GOING LEGAL ACTION FILED APRIL 2015;

* See the Exhibit TD Bank Agreement made on August 5th 2015 and the stipulation seen on Page #2 Sub-Section (f.) LINKED HERE.

* See the Exhibit April 29th 2015 lawsuit in “Opposition” before the Federal Trademark Trial and Appeals Board linked below that were legal "actions commenced" [sic] asserting Trademark "infringement" or "likeness of confusion" and that was absolutely an on-going legal action during the August 5th 2015 TD Bank Agreement Ratification LINKED HERE.

IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE: It is fact by dateline that when the Firehouse Subs, Co-Founders entered into the TD BANK "Security Interest" Agreement on August 5th 2015 they INTENTIONALLY MISREPRESENTED facts and falsified the terms in the TD Bank Agreement found on page 2 Sub-Section (f.) which stated that there were "no" "actions commenced" or "threatened" "with reference to the trademarks".    When in fact the truth is there was an ongoing Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Opposition Lawsuit "commenced" by Firehouse Subs on April 29th 2015 against Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar  "with reference to the trademarks" months BEFORE Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen entered into the TD BANK "Security Interest Agreement" and ratified the legal instrument on August 5th 2015.

  • FIREHOUSE SUBS, CO-FOUNDERS, ROBIN SORENSEN AND CHRIS SORENSEN WILLFULLY USED THE FRAUDULENTLY "OBTAINED" BRAND TRADEMARKS ("COLLECTIVELY, THE MARKS") KNOWING THAT THE FRAUDULENTLY "OBTAINED" TRADEMARK PORTFOLIO LISTED IN THE AGREEMENT IS IN FACT "INVALID OR UNENFORCEABLE" UNDER THE LANHAM ACT - UNITED STATES CODE 15.   THE TD BANK "SECURITY INTEREST" AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO BY FIREHOUSE SUBS, CO-FOUNDERS ROBIN SORENSEN AND CHRIS SORENSEN IS IN FACT A DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICE WHICH ENTIRELY BREACHES, UNDERMINES AND/OR DEFRAUDS THE TD BANK LOAN AGREEMENT TERMS IN A MULTITUDE OF WAYS UNDER THE LANHAM ACT - UNITED STATES CODE 15;

* See the Exhibit TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan Agreement stipulations seen on Page #2 Section a.) and b.) LINKED HERE.

* See the Sworn Affidavit (Testimony) in facts LINKED HERE among other material facts that were offered to Attorney, Michael J. Chamowitz regarding the "Opposition" lawsuit against Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar  located in Alexandria, Virginia.

  • FIREHOUSE SUBS, CO-FOUNDERS ROBIN SORENSEN AND CHRIS SORENSEN APPLYING AND RECEIVING A TD BANK "SECURITY INTEREST" LOAN USE FRAUDULENTLY "OBTAINED" BRAND TRADEMARKS ("COLLECTIVELY, THE MARKS") AND INTENTIONALLY MISREPRESENT TO TD BANK THAT ALL THE TRADEMARKS LISTED IN "SCHEDULE A" ARE "VALID AND ENFORCEABLE" UNDER THE LANHAM ACT UNITED STATES CODE 15.   WHEREAS, MANY, IF NOT ALL, THE FIREHOUSE SUBS TRADEMARKS LISTED IN "SCHEDULE A" ARE NOT WHAT WOULD BE DEEMED "VALID AND ENFORCEABLE" BY ANY COURT OF LAW UNDER THE LANHAM ACT - UNITED STATES CODE 15;

AT LEAST ONE THIRD; HOWEVER, ALL OF THE TRADEMARKS ARE "UNENFORCEABLE" UNDER THE LANHAM ACT:

WITH EMPHASIS, to dispel some speculation regarding the above assertions in this Article; the Firehouse Subs Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen; himself, provided sworn Federal Court testimony that does confirm; as a matter of law, that over 1/3 of the Firehouse Subs Trademark Registrations listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" ARE considered to be "fraudulently obtained" pursuant to The Lanham Act - United States Code 15 because the Trademark Registration Applications were unlawfully applied for AFTER the dateline of "August 2002". 

In other words, by Firehouse Subs Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen provided sworn Federal Court testimony over 1/3 of Firehouse Subs Trademark Registration Applications filed AFTER 2002 were "fraudulently obtained" and are "Invalid and Unenforceable" pursuant to the the Lanham Act - United States Code 15 and the fact remains that those particular Trademark Registrations were listed and used as collateral in the TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan.

* Please see the June 24th 2016 Article detailed "EXHIBITS" LINKED HERE if you have not already done so.

EMPHASIS ADDED, when it is factored in that the very first Federal Trademark Application in June of 1995 by Attorney, Rick M. Reznicsek (Trademark Registration#: 74684467) for Firehouse Subs regarding the "word mark" "FIREHOUSE" Subs was at that time "Abandon" BECAUSE Attorney, Mr. Reznicsek unearthed that there were other "Senior Users" of the "word mark" "FIREHOUSE" and related such findings to Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen (whom already knew)...then ALL the Firehouse Subs Trademark Registrations listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" were "fraudulently obtained" pursuant to The Lanham Act - United States Code 15 and are therefore "Invalid and Unenforceable" as a matter of law.

* See the Exhibit Attorney, Rick M. Reznicsek Trademark Registration#: 74684467 for Firehouse Subs in 1995 LINKED HERE.

CITING: Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. v. Alpha of VA, Inc., 43 F.3d 922, 931, n.12 (4th Cir. 1995), which said that “the Lanham Act provides that trademarks procured by fraud are unenforceable.” LINKED HERE

As a matter of law, “Fraud in procuring a trademark registration or renewal occurs when an applicant knowingly makes false, material representation of fact in connection with his application.” Torres v. Cantine Torresella S.r.l., 1 U.S.P.Q.2d 1483, 1484 (Fed. Cir. 1986).

GENERAL BACK-STORY:

For over a decade and a half Trademark Attorney of Record, Mr. Richard S. Vermut in concert with Firehouse Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen went about filing intimidating and very costly lawsuits under the color of law (many listed on the TTAB & Federal Court Docket) against a multitude of Small Business Owners across the Nation that were using the common word "FIREHOUSE" in their trade name or logo.    You can count some of the lawsuits in the TTAB Record HERE. {Scroll down the linked TTAB Record pages]

Each and every lawsuit or legal threat brought by Firehouse Subs over the years was mainly and repeatedly focused on the word "FIREHOUSE" being used in a small business trade name or logo.   The common word "FIREHOUSE" in fact was the only similarity in the many claimed Trademark infringement cases.    These legal actions brought under the color of law by Attorney, Mr. Richard S. Vermut in concert with Firehouse Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen can only be termed ruthless when in fact, the truth be known, ALL the Firehouse Subs Trademarks bearing the word "FIREHOUSE" were obtained by fraud at the State and Federal level pursuant the the Lanham Act - United States Code 15.    ALL the Firehouse Subs Trademarks are completely listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A".  In essence, Attorney, Mr. Richard S. Vermut in concert with Firehouse Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen beat up small business owners across the nation; since 1999 to present, with an assortment of ill-gotten and unlawfully "obtained" "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademarks.

For the record and as stated above the original Attorney, Rick M. Reznicsek for Firehouse Subs, Co-Founders, Chris and Robin Sorensen filed the very first Federal Trademark Application Registration# 74684467 in June of 1995 being in the Trademark Class 42 "restaurant services" and it was assigned to an Examiner regarding the "word mark" filing "Firehouse" Subs.    Thereafter and ethically in July of 1996 that Trademark Registration# 74684467 was left to be "Abandon" due to the findings by a database search earlier on that there was a "Senior User" of the word mark "Firehouse". Also, as a side note Attorney of Record, Rick M. Reznicsek and the successor Attorney of Record, Richard S. Vermut were from the same law firm "Rogers & Towers" and worked closely together along side another Attorney, Stephen E. Kelly at that period of time throughout the 1990's.

To the date of this writing in 2016 ALL the Firehouse Subs Trademark Applications in Registration bearing the word mark "FIREHOUSE" Subs were "obtained" by fraud since 1994 pursuant the the Lanham Act - United States Code 15 and ALL the Firehouse Subs Trademark Applications in Registration are currently and completely listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A".

WITH EMPHASIS, as a matter of law; “Fraud in procuring a trademark registration or renewal occurs when an applicant knowingly makes false, material representation of fact in connection with his application.”Torres v. Cantine Torresella S.r.l., 1 U.S.P.Q.2d 1483, 1484 (Fed. Cir. 1986).

The Lanham Act §14(3) permits cancellation of a U.S. trademark registration, at any time, if the registration “was obtained fraudulently.”

"Obtained" in this context has been interpreted to mean not only the procurement of the initial registration, but the maintenance (Section 8), renewal (Section 9), and incontestability status (Section 15) of an existing registration.

Consequently the above legalities and rule of law apply to the TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan alongside the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio as comprehensively listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and as executed solely by Firehouse Subs, Co-Founders, Chris and Robin Sorensen.

Even more, it is really anyone's guess how many "Cease & Desist" Letters were issued threatening other small businesses nationwide to stop using the common word "Firehouse" in their trade name and so they reluctantly did and certainly had to bear the expensive cost of sign changes and menu changes and other printed materials.    The embolden Trademark Bully's; Mr. Richard S. Vermut and Firehouse Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen legal Complaint filings in all of the legal cases were "likeliness of confusion" and those legal claims brought were completely idiotic like in the Cali Baker Firehouse Bar & Grill / Capt. Heath Scurfield case in South Carolina Federal Court. ***See the idiotic Firehouse Subs legal dispute and claims regarding the name "FIREHOUSE" and "seated dog" here. _

To his courage and credit, Capt. Heath Scurfield owner of Cali Bakers Bar & Grill was not going to be bullied around by Firehouse Subs absurd legal claims which started a four year lawsuit in Federal Court that ended in an Appeals Court Settlement in July 2012.   Firefighter, Capt. Scurfeild for Cali Bakers Bar & Grill  spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and was almost fiscally and emotionally ruined in the process...however he did prevail in July 2012 in an Appeals Court "Confidential Settlement" and the rest as they say is history.

Many in the nationwide Franchise Industry know of the Federal District Court of Florence, South Carolina, Jury Verdict of Trademark Fraud handed down in 2011 by an unanimous Jury decision regarding Firehouse Subs (Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc.) verses Calli Bakers (Firefighter, Capt. Heath Scurfield) and the subsequent Appeal Court Settlement in July 2012 against Firehouse Subs (Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc.).

Judge Harwell of the Federal Court and USPTO "Fraud" Correspondence for review LINKED HERE

Some of the Franchise Professionals around the Nation who were a bit befuddled and in disbelief about the willful Trademark Fraud Federal District Court of Florence, South Carolina, Verdict in 2011 regarding Calli Bakers Firehouse Bar & Grill (Firefighter, Capt. Heath Scurfield) and Firehouse Subs (Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc.) made their view points in comments known publicly.  Their professional view points in commentary are worth reviewing and are LINKED HERE

CURRENT FIREHOUSE SUBS TRADEMARK LAWSUITS IN 2015 AND 2016:

Apparently, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen alongside Attorney, Richard Vermut were not finished filing bad faith legal actions to bully small businesses concerning the Fraudulently obtained "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio as comprehensively listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A".

THEREAFTER, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen alongside Attorney, Richard Vermut once again brought the exact SAME legal claims regarding the entire "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio ("collectively, the marks") that were filed, listed and claimed against Calli Bakers Firehouse Bar & Grill (Firefighter, Capt. Heath Scurfield) and this bad faith lawsuit was filed before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) in April 2015 against Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar  located in Alexandria, Virginia.

This case in April 2015 brought against Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar in Alexandria, Virginia once again listed ALL the Firehouse Subs Trademark Portfolio based on "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Applications in Registration and in the legal filing "FIREHOUSE Subs" claimed that the Columbia "Firehouse" Restaurant and Bar Trademarks were an unlawful "infringement" and/or there was a "likeliness of confusion" with regards the "Salient" word "FIREHOUSE" .

***See the absurd and unethical legal claims by Firehouse Subs regarding "Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar" over two (2) totally different looking Trademarks concerning a "likeliness of confusion" and/or "infringement" LINKED HERE

The April 29th 2015 lawsuit against Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar in Alexandria, Virginia, as Represented by Attorney, Michael J. Chamowitz were rooted legally in claims of "likeliness of confusion" and/or "infringement" over the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio and are clearly outlined in the TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan business offering (Pages 8 thru 17) and are  comprehensively listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A".

The April 29th 2015 lawsuit concerning Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar in Alexandria, Virginia, as Represented by Attorney, Michael J. Chamowitz  heard before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board TTAB Case Number: 91221728  once again claimed exclusive rights to the word “FIREHOUSE” and alleged a "likeliness of confusion" and/or "infringement" BUT suddenly was “DROPPED” in February 2016.

CAVEAT - FRANCHISE BUYER BEWARE :

The Author of this Article, William H. Rogers is not under any Nondisclosure or Confidentially Agreement regarding the Firehouse Subs Corporation. This article wants to make perfectly clear to the reader that the fraudulently "obtained" Firehouse Subs Trademark Portfolio as completely listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and as generally listed in the Brand Trademark Portfolio offered in Firehouse Subs "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) found in ITEM 13 and thereafter sold / licensed to Franchisees ARE NOT "ENFORCEABLE" under the Lanham Act - United States Code 15.

Rather ALL the Firehouse Subs so-called "Trademarks" ("collectively, the marks") listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" are at best only colorful, graphic pictures or image designs because of the violations of the Lanham Act - United States Code 15 and "the marks" will not be legally recognized under the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks.

Without the word mark "FIREHOUSE" Subs in their Trademark Portfolio being "VALID" or "ENFORCEABLE" by Federal Law the Co-founders, Chris and Robin Sorensen are continuing to sell / license to their Franchisees this extreme example...LINKED HERE ...OR in essence are selling / licensing a "fictious trade name" registration to Franchisees that extends no lawful or exclusive proprietary Trademark rights under under the Lanham Act - United States Code 15 and under the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks.

IN ADDITION, ALL the "fraudulently obtained" Firehouse Subs Trademark Registrations ("collectively, the marks") listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" sold / licensed to Franchisees ARE NOT LAWFULLY "ENFORCEABLE" under the Lanham Act - United States Code 15.  Subsequently, ALL these Firehouse Subs Trademark Registrations are NOT lawfully "ENFORCEABLE" Internationally / Globally either under the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks.

Furthermore, any rights claimed or assumed by Firehouse Subs or their lawyers regarding "Common Law Marks" are NOT in common with legal precedence, mandates or international treatise.

Accordingly, for the all those Lawyers who contend Firehouse Subs still has "common law trademark" protection ....the Lone Star court, in dicta, made the leap that a trademark registration procured by fraud means that the common law trademark is also unenforceable.

To complicate matters further, the Firehouse Subs "common law marks" and the trade dress "look and feel" that are major design elements in the Decor' were obtained by fraudulent conversion and those major design elements were distinctly embodied and expressed in a joint-authorship published in early 1993 that outlined in detail the "Firehouse Subs" business venture.    With each Firehouse Subs Franchise store that opens nationwide or globally an infringement and/or misappropriation of the idea- expressions occurs regarding the 1993 publishing that embodied the common law marks and the trade dress.    Therefore, any DBA "Firehouse Subs" Franchisee can in reality be sued by the Joint-Author / Joint-Creator of the Intellectual Properties.  Whether or not the Joint-Author (3rd Firehouse Subs Founder) would prevail in this very expensive legal undertaking is another story altogether.

FIREHOUSE SUBS "PRIVATE" CORPORATION WITH NO BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Like "Chick-A-Filet", it is absolutely certain "Firehouse Subs" will never be publicly traded.  Why?  In a word..."control".

Accordingly, Firehouse Subs Franchise Chain is not a publicly traded IPO like the Franchises "McDonalds" "Burger King" "Wendy's" "Papa Johns" and therefore Firehouse Subs is not under any such government regulations or oversight.   Firehouse Subs (Firehouse Subs Restaurant Group, Inc.) operates as a "private" Franchise Company under the strict and exclusive control of the Co-Founders, Robin and Chris Sorensen.

See this very wise Blue Mau Mau Article; "The Importance of the Board of Directors" that the Firehouse Subs Co-Founders, Robin and Chris should have certainly adhered to in expanding the Franchise operations.  In short, the conventional wisdom gleened from this Blue Mau Mau Article is "accountability" by the Board of Directors.

There are reasons that do not meet the public eye for this "private" business structure within the Firehouse Subs Franchise "empire" under the strict and exclusive dictatorship of the Co-Founders, Robin and Chris Sorensen and this Article points some of those reasons out.

It is a material fact that there was a TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan on August 5th 2015 executed by Firehouse Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen on behalf of "Firehouse Subs" Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc. / Firehouse of America LLC that was unknowingly, approved and accepted by TD Bank, Cheryl Snyder, Vice President. 

Wherein, the Firehouse Subs, Co-Founders, Robin and Chris Sorensen on behalf of "Firehouse Subs" Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc. / Firehouse of America LLC made intentional and illegal misrepresentations while acquiring the TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan on August 5th 2015.

EQUALLY AS IMPORTANT...as the above background facts of willful fraud by Firehouse Subs on the US Government, TD Bank, the Franchisees and an assortment of others over the years...there is another burning question concerning the TD Bank Loan on August 5th 2015 and it is the following;

How could Firehouse Subs by and through Co-Founders, Chris and Robin Sorensen on August 5th 2015 enter into the TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan Agreement in good faith and clear conscious knowing full well that the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio as listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" was obtained by fraud on the USPTO and in violation of the the Lanham Act - United States Code 15 ?   The only logical answer this author can come up with is that the deluded ego and pride of the the Co-Founders, Robin and Chris Sorensen over the years along with NO Board of Directors as accountability catapulted them to an above the law mentality.    Much like Lance Armstrong.

But where was their Trademark Lawyer, Richard S. Vermut and his legal counsel?    Right there in concert with the two brothers one must reasonably presume.

The facts are the TD Bank "Security Interest" Loan was exclusively granted based on the fraudulently obtained "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio as comprehensively listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A"and as generally offered in Firehouse Subs "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) found in ITEM 13 on Pages 35 thru 37. 

In other words, what was termed and presented to TD Bank as an " assignment" by Firehouse Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen and "Firehouse Subs" receipt of "proceeds" would in legal actuality be the Sorensen brothers using and placing an unknowing TD Bank in the damaging position of "Fraud involving a security interest".

This is not at all rational or ethical behavior from a Florida Corporation or it's Executives the likes of Firehouse Subs Restaurant Group, Inc. in the bright light of Florida Statute 817.562 Fraud involving a security interest.— 

Especially, in light of the material facts that the ALL the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio as listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" were obtained by fraud on the USPTO and in violation of the the Lanham Act - United States Code 15.

"FIREHOUSE" SUBS TRADEMARKS ARE "UNENFORCEABLE" :

The recent subversive Trademark "Opposition" legal action on April 29th 2015 TTAB Case Number: 91221728 is actual and factual proof that the Firehouse Subs Franchise Chain and Franchisees; CANNOT legally defend ("ENFORCE") their entire Trademark Portfolio listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and as generally offered in Firehouse Subs "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) found in ITEM 13.

The absolute proof is the April 29th 2015 "Opposition" lawsuit concerning Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar in Alexandria, Virginia, as Represented by Attorney, Michael J. Chamowitz  before the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) TTAB Case Number: 91221728 claiming a "likeliness of confusion" and/or "infringement" that was “DROPPED” in February of 2016.

Firehouse Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen repeatedly filed lawsuits since 1999 utilizing a slick "sue-to-settlement" posture; however in legal reality the entire Firehouse Subs Trademark Portfolio listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" was/is "INVALID" or "UNENFORCEABLE" under the Lanham Act - United States Code 15.

The sue-to-settle legal posture (to extract a settlement) by Firehouse Subs, Co- Founder, Robin Sorensen and Attorney, Richard Vermut was very slick since all the small business owners ("Defendants") nationwide BUT Cali Bakers Firehouse Bar & Grill did not legally fight the Firehouse Subs ("Plaintiff") because of the hundreds of thousands of dollars required in legal expenses to do so. The Trademark Bully's, Firehouse Subs, Co- Founder, Robin Sorensen and Attorney, Richard Vermut took the small business owners lunch money many times over until 2012.

Ironically, the last nail in the coffin was hammered in, stroke by stroke, year after year, since 1999 by Firehouse Subs, Co- Founder, Robin Sorensen and Attorney, Richard Vermut and their aggressive and clever "sue-to-settle" posture until the repeated fraud upon the USPTO / TTAB came into the light of day in May 2012.

The factual and absolute proof concerning the entire "Firehouse" Subs Trademark Portfolio being "INVALID" or "UNENFORCEABLE" came in a legal concession that was termed in the public eye as a mutual "Settlement" and the case was "DROPPED” in February 2016 ("Columbia Firehouse trademark opposition dropped by Firehouse Restaurant Group").   

No matter how "FIREHOUSE" Subs wants to paint a pretty and postive legal picture to the public through media spin the conclusion of this lawsuit was in fact a fatal blow to their Trademark Portfolio "ENFORCEMENT" particularly under the Lanham Act - United States Code 15.  

The aforesaid April 29th 2015 "Opposition" lawsuit concerning Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar in Alexandria, Virginia, as Represented by Attorney, Michael J. Chamowitz  "marks" the beginning of the end for Firehouse Subs "the marks" with regards to any and all legal ENFORCEMENT of the "Firehouse" Subs Trademark Portfolio under the the Lanham Act - United States Code 15.

The outcome of the Federal Lawsuit in July 2012 (Cali Bakers, Bar & Grill in SC.) and thereafter outcome of the February 2016 (Columbia Firehouse, Restaurant and Bar in VA.) before the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) is/was absolutely disastrous for Firehouse Subs Franchise Chain and in particularly for the Franchisees who can no longer  defend their "territory" and/or market share should or IF...Firehouse Subs Corporate Franchise Headquarters would condone and take on the Trademark lawsuit.  Whereby, Firehouse Subs Corporate NOT the Franchisee per the Franchise Agreement (FDD) is the ONLY entity allowed to bring lawsuits.

Accordingly, the duped Franchisees; CANNOT legally defend ("ENFORCE") the Firehouse Subs Trademark Portfolio ("collectively, the marks") listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and as generally offered in Firehouse Subs "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) found in ITEM 13.under the the Lanham Act - United States Code 15.

CITING: Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. v. Alpha of VA, Inc., 43 F.3d 922, 931, n.12 (4th Cir. 1995), which said that “the Lanham Act provides that trademarks procured by fraud are unenforceable.” LINKED HERE

As a matter of law, “Fraud in procuring a trademark registration or renewal occurs when an applicant knowingly makes false, material representation of fact in connection with his application.” Torres v. Cantine Torresella S.r.l., 1 U.S.P.Q.2d 1483, 1484 (Fed. Cir. 1986).

Meaning, a "Firehouse" this or "Firehouse" that; name brand eatery, small business owner, can move into any Firehouse Subs Franchisee area/territory.    Because ANY Litigation of the word mark "FIREHOUSE" Subs which is laced repeatedly and perpetually throughout the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Portfolio listed HERE is in reality forevermore legally barred and/or precluded from ANY lawsuit as EXHIBITED HERE.

"FIREHOUSE" SUBS TRADEMARKS LEGALLY BARRED AND FATALLY FLAWED:

Any rights claimed by Firehouse Subs or lawyers regarding "Common Law Marks" are NOT in common with legal precedence, mandates or international treatise under the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks.

As a matter of law, “Fraud in procuring a trademark registration or renewal occurs when an applicant knowingly makes false, material representation of fact in connection with his application.” Torres v. Cantine Torresella S.r.l., 1 U.S.P.Q.2d 1483, 1484 (Fed. Cir. 1986).

CITING: Federal Statute Citing: Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. v. Alpha of VA, Inc., 43 F.3d 922, 931, n.12 (4th Cir. 1995), which said that “the Lanham Act provides that trademarks procured by fraud are unenforceable.” LINKED HERE

It makes no legal matter if the legal issue turns on the so-called "Registered" Trademarks (that were fraudulently obtained) or that legal claims are brought based on the "Common Law Trademarks" Firehouse Subs (Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc.) CANNOT ENFORCE "collectively, the marks" that they offered and sell / license to their Franchisees...any longer or forevermore or anywhere (Nationwide or Globally).

It should be said, Firehouse Subs with their wealth and influence can brazenly attempt to file an action or claim rights in a court; however, they will NOT lawfully prevail.

This should be beautiful legal music to the ears of small business owners everywhere using the word "Firehouse" in their trade name or logo.

Consequently, it can now be said with certainty Firehouse Subs cannot and will not bring another bad faith, frivolous Trademark lawsuit for a Franchisee based on "likeliness of confusion" and/or "infringement" over the word mark "FIREHOUSE" Subs in any market area Nationwide or Internationally.

Perhaps this is another reason Firehouse Subs is staying so close to home thus far with Franchise expansions outside the United States only in Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico. 

Regardless the Firehouse Subs Trademark Portfolio procured by fraud that are UNENFORCEABLE in the United States are therefore a metastatic disease like cancer on the Firehouse Subs Trademarks expanding into the International market.

To add, as a matter of law the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio under U.S. Trademark Registrations is considered to be "Supplemental Register" not "Principal Register".   The Firehouse Subs Franchise Agreement at the bottom of Page 36 (highlighted) clearly denotes these distinguishing facts of "the marks" being a "Supplemental Register".   Principal Register vs. Supplemental Register explanation LINKED HERE.

Some other very significant legal reasons and legal precedence for review that are with regards to the "fraudulently obtained" Firehouse Subs Trademark Portfolio being "Invalid" or "Unenforceable" as a matter of law are LINKED HERE;

FIREHOUSE SUBS TRADEMARKS ("COLLECTIVELY, THE MARKS") FATALLY FLAWED WORLDWIDE :

This Article provides material proof and legal precedence which spells out a death sentence in 2016 concerning any legal ENFORCEMENT Internationally of the the fraudulently obtained "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio as comprehensively listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and as generally offered in Firehouse Subs "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) found in ITEM 13 ("collectively, the marks") regarding the word "FIREHOUSE" Subs which is highly relevant to legal protection of the "Territories" or market shares .

This Article provides indisputable hard facts and legal realities; as a matter of law, that Firehouse Subs Franchise / Franchisees CANNOT defend their entire Trademark Portfolio concerning the word "Firehouse" Subs after the Columbia Firehouse Restaurant and Bar in Alexandria, Virginia legal action as speared headed by Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen alongside Attorney, Richard Vermut.

BECAUSE, the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Portfolio as listed in the TD Bank Security Interest Agreement "Schedule A" were ALL obtained by fraud on the USPTO and in violation of the Lanham Act - United States Code 15.

The plain fact of the matter is Firehouse Subs Franchise Chain future plans for an International / Global expansion of "Firehouse Subs" WILL BE governed by the Madrid Protocol.    Whereas, the Madrid Agreement concerns the International Registration of Marks -- the Madrid Protocol --and is one of two treaties comprising the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks.

Again, maybe this is another reason Franchiser, Firehouse Subs is staying close to home with with Franchise expansions outside the United States in Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico only thus far.

Certainly there will be absolutely no legal grounds in protecting the "fraudulently obtained" Firehouse Subs Trademarks Portfolio fully outlined in the TD Bank Security Interest Agreement "Schedule A" by and through a "Master Franchise Agreement" made with other business entities Internationally as as governed by the Madrid Protocol.

This above stated is a very real business dilemma for Firehouse Subs when expanding internationally with consistency beyond the testing markets of Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico. To add, there has been no Trademark Lawsuits filed over the Firehouse Subs Trademarks Portfolio in the Franchise Areas outside the United States to the date of this writing.

The TD Bank Security Interest Agreement "Schedule A" that were ALL obtained by fraud on the USPTO and that are invalid and unenforceable because of violating of the the Lanham Act - United States Code 15  will be invalid and unenforceable in the Madrid System for international registration of trademarks.

Therefore the Trademark Fraud at the Nationwide level (USPTO) is a foul, leprosy that has eaten away at the Global / International Expansion of "FIREHOUSE" Subs under common law, mandated Laws (Lanham Act - United States Code 15) and International Treatise like the  Madrid Protocol.

Yet....does it really matter to the "Firehouse" Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen and Chris Sorensen while they continue to solicit people into the Franchise "Family"?   Does it really matter to the "Firehouse" Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen and Chris Sorensen as they continue to sell / license to the Franchisee's?  Not with the iron clad Firehouse Sub Franchise Agreement they have had their legal team put together...offered in the Firehouse Subs "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) because the terms and conditions are ALL in the Firehouse Subs Franchise legal favor in every way, shape and form.

Nevertheless, the total inability to legally ENFORCE the Firehouse Subs Trademark Branding (i.e. "collectively, the marks") concerning nationwide or International "Territories" is catastrophic to say the least for the Franchiser, Firehouse Subs moving and expanding into the future.

CONCLUSION:

Once again, let it clearly and concisely be stated in this article, that "Firehouse" Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen along side his brother Chris Sorensen (as supported by Attorney-Client Privileges) DID have absolute foreknowledge of other Senior Users of the word mark "FIREHOUSE" and despite this keen foreknowledge willfully and unlawfully ("backed-into") ALL the "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademark Applications filed State and Federal since 1994 and in willful violation of 18 U.S.C. §1001 and the Lanham Act - United States Code 15 .

Thereafter and shockingly, the "FIREHOUSE" Subs, Co-Founder, Robin Sorensen along side his brother Chris Sorensen (as supported by Attorney-Client Privileges) brazenly and unlawfully went about selling / licensing to Franchisees these "FIREHOUSE" Subs Trademarks ("collectively, the marks") listed in the TD Bank Agreement "Schedule A" and as generally offered in Firehouse Subs "Franchise Disclosure Document" (2016 FDD) that were "obtained fraudulently” under the color of law.

The above facts are self-evident that these Ex-Firefighters, Robin Sorensen and Chris Sorensen certainly have mastered hosing their Franchisee "Family" in pursuing their own "empire"  under the mask of genuine Firefighter type help and support.

A reasonable person reviewing this Investigative Article and the assortment of linked material Exhibits only need to follow the facts in logic to a final and natural conclusion. 

Where there is smoke there has been fire.

One thing is for absolute certain over the years...you can Bank on this type damaging and deceptive Corporate behavior by Robin Sorensen and Chris Sorensen not being the acts of authentic Firefighters within the time honored values of the Fire Service.

By William H. Rogers, Jr.  Professional Ex-Firefighter (Rockledge Florida),
Concerned Citizen and Investigative Author
Author of “Firehouse Subs Fraud on the USPTO” © Copyright
This is an excerpt from the book publishing due out in late 2016 or early 2017.

Other Published Blue Mau Mau Online Articles by this Author:

On JUNE 24th 2016: 2016 Firehouse Subs Franchise Trademark Fraud. Who Criminally violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001?

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About William H. Rogers

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Author / Writer, William Harris Rogers, Jr. holds 8 Copyrights in one form or another concerning Firehouse Subs [ Firehouse Restaurant Group, Inc (FRG) ]. AS LINKED HERE

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Franchise Operations