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Best Buy is threatening to sue a Catholic priest over his Beetle that reads "God Squad". Best Buy claims that violates its Geek Squad trademark.  (Source: Flickr)
Best Buy accuses Catholic Priest of violating its trademark and Geek Squad look

Father Luke Strand of the Holy Family Parish in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, has a pretty interesting ride.  He drives around town in a black Volkswagen Beetle with a logo featuring the phrase "God Squad" emblazoned on it.  That logo and the vehicle itself bear a striking similarity to the mobile service vehicles of Best Buy's service team, the Geek Squad.

Apparently, Best Buy isn't pleased with its look being appropriated by this man of the cloth.  Lawyers for the electronics retailer sent Father Strand a cease-and-desist letter telling him to ditch the logo or face consequences.  

Father Strand mentioned the letter at his Sunday Mass.

Speaking to the
Fond du Lac Reporter, Father Strand defended the logo.  He says he uses the logo as a creative way to spur discussions and bring his faith to the community.

Best Buy told reporters for the 
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that while it appreciates Father Strand's sentiments, it cannot stand by and watch its trademarks be violated.

The legal dispute revives a long ongoing question of just how much ownership to an icon a company can claim.  Apple, Inc., for example, has been particularly zealous in legally assailing those who supposedly violated its trademark.  From New York City to music festivals, anyone who used the logo of an Apple -- or particularly a logo of an Apple with a bite out of it -- was hit with lawsuits or cease-and-desist letters. 

Some argue that companies are taking trademark enforcement to far; corporate lawyers would obviously disagree.

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RE: Definitely a copy...
By Helbore on 8/16/2010 1:04:53 PM , Rating: 2
Why does Best Buy care, though?

Is the church a direct business competitor to best Buy? No.

IS the church profiteering off the Best Buy logo? No.

Instead of suing a priest (bad publicity, ahoy there!) they should be thanking him for the free advertising. Some legal departments just don't have a clue.

RE: Definitely a copy...
By Donkeyshins on 8/16/2010 1:14:09 PM , Rating: 2
If I were the owners of Best Buy, I wouldn't want any association with the Catholic Church given revelations (pun intended) about their policy vis a vis pedophile priests.

RE: Definitely a copy...
By allometry on 8/16/2010 1:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
I don't believe it would be in Best Buy's interest to say what you just said an potentially alienate 22% of the American populous.

RE: Definitely a copy...
By nshoe on 8/17/2010 2:28:48 PM , Rating: 2
Why does Best Buy care? Trademark dilution.

Unlike Copyrights and Patents, Trademarks can be lost if you don't bother to protect them - which can lead to shareholder lawsuits for not protecting company assets - which is why corporate trademark holders tend to be a little rabid where trademark protection comes up.

RE: Definitely a copy...
By knutjb on 8/17/2010 3:21:16 PM , Rating: 2
Unlike Copyrights and Patents, Trademarks can be lost if you don't bother to protect them
Just ask Ford when the bean counters failed to protect GT40, Cobra, and a few others.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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