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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 Spivonious on 8/16/2010 1:28:55 PM , Rating: 3
A copy yes, but unless this priest is selling tech support, Best Buy has no case. A trademark is only valid within your industry.

If I wanted to call my guitar store "Starbucks", I can. I just can't sell any coffee products.


RE: Definitely a copy...
By bodar on 8/16/2010 9:08:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Trademark attorney Michael G. Atkins of Seattle said legal parodies of commercial trademarks are protected under the First Amendment, but such religious products generally don't fall into that category. "You could take Microsoft and change their logo around to make fun of Microsoft, and that would be legal," he said. "But I can't use the Microsoft logo to promote my Christian theme because there's no real connection there. That's illegal."


http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/business/stor...

This priest may not have too strong a case if the law agrees with this attorney's interpretation. Basically, companies just don't press the issue because they don't want the obvious bad PR.


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