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Papa John's may soon go by the name Papa Johns, a minor grammatical tweak that says a lot about the state of the brand.

In what appear to be previously unreported filings regarding new wording and brand imagery, the company would keep the Papa John's brand name but lose the apostrophe in the second word. The filings were submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in late August.

Papa John's International Inc., is eager to repair the image of the Papa John's brand following the controversy stemming from founder John Schnatter's racially charged comments. (A timeline of the controversy and its fallout is here.) While the company has distanced itself from Schnatterwho stepped down as chairman of the board in July, and whose image was swiftly removed from everything from ads to pizza boxesthe possessive brand name continues to suggest that the chain is owned by John himself. And, indeed, he remains its largest shareholder. Now, it appears Papa John's will try to add a little more public distance by dropping that possessive usage from its logo.

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