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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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As a Best buy employee....
By rudolphna on 8/16/2010 5:41:29 PM , Rating: 2
It is my personal opinion that the company I work for has every right to defend it's intellectual property. Anyone with half a brain would see that car and first thought would probably be "Best Buy". While it is in no way that I can see harming the company, or us individual employees, he is clearly ripping off the Geek Squad. Is he a competitor? No. Is he using a little-modified TRADEMARKED LOGO without permission? Yes. THAT is what is important. The fact that it is a registered trademark being used without permission.

If you had a patent and someone changed the color and changed half of the name and declared it a different product, while still utilizing the same design and operational characteristics.... You'd be ticked off, wouldn't you?

Just my 2c

RE: As a Best buy employee....
By tmouse on 8/17/2010 9:00:29 AM , Rating: 2
A patent is an entirely different beast. A trademarks purpose is to offer the holder some identity protection in their own market. In this case the markets are totally different. No one in their right mind would confuse the two. Best buy really has no case to show any dilution of trademark or economic distress. There are differences in the color scheme with only the make of the car and the logo having some similarities. I do not see how BB can show any economic loss or dilution in this case and nationwide it will hurt them to be seen picking on a lone priest, it will not be the catholic church vs. Best Buy it will be a corporation picking on a single guy. I really hope Best buy loses between copyrights, patents and trademarks being so widely protected pretty soon no one will be able to think, talk or write without touching on someone else’s IP rights. A little protection is necessary but we are going down entirely new venues of stupid in our interpretations of scope. As an aside does anyone actually use their overpriced crappy service, I guess so.

RE: As a Best buy employee....
By mindless1 on 8/17/2010 12:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
Suing someone that is not devaluing your brand, not taking away from your profits, nor harming you in any way is NOT DEFENDING.

That's called offense. Sane people don't go around suing others just because they are "ticked off".

Changed half the name? Far as I can see, Best Buy is not the first group to use a two-word description in which the 2nd word was "squad", THEY are the ones who copied other people's ideas, babes are not born knowing the word "squad"... nor "geek" for that matter.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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