Thursday, September 2, 2010

B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Legal Battles

Geeks v. ....God?
Yes, the geeks of the world are standing up to God.  But it's not exactly the way it sounds.  

The well-known "Geek Squad", a trademarked computer tech department in Best Buy stores, has sent a cease and desist letter to the "God Squad".  The Geek Squad is often seen to be the saving grace for our failed hard drives, flash drives, and other computer-related nightmares.  Now they want to save their market recognition as such a savior.

On the other side, the God Squad serves as a ministry group in Fond Du Lac, WI.  The leader of the group, Father Luke Strand, drives a Volkswagen Bug, donned with a logo quite similar to the one owned by Best Buy.  In trademark law, the main prong for arguing infringement is confusion in the market.  When one mark so greatly resembles another, to the point of confusing consumers, grounds for infringement are bound to surface.

In this case, although the God Squad and Geek Squad are clearly in different markets, the close mirroring logos could cause some conflict.  Paula Baldwin, from Best Buy's PR department, insisted  the company must pursue all trademark infringements, or let the logo's strength in the market weaken.  "This was a really difficult thing for us to do because we appreciate what Father Strand is trying to accomplish with his mission. But at the end of the day, it's bad precedent to let some groups violate our trademark while pursuing others," she said.  

Currently, Best Buy is working with Father Strand and the God Squad to find an amicable resolution.  Ministry and computer tech are not the parties we want in conflict.  Could you imagine the social dismay?!

Here's the video from Wisconsin local news.

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