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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: Maybe I'm missing something?
By SPOOFE on 8/16/2010 2:31:19 PM , Rating: 2
people are saying it's o.k. for a priest to steal.

No; people are saying it's o.k. for anyone to parody a trademark.

I would think that they should have the right to protect their trademarks

They actually have a responsibility to protect their trademarks; however, parody is considered to not be a misappropriation of their trademarks.

RE: Maybe I'm missing something?
By nshoe on 8/17/2010 2:38:14 PM , Rating: 2
However parody is not as well protected in trademarks as it is in copyright. If the courts think there is a reasonable possibility that people will be confused into thinking that the trademark holder is endorsing the parody then they can be found in violation of the trademark, parody or not. (For example, the lawsuit by Mutual Of Omaha against the maker of "Mutant of Omaha" t-shirts...)

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