Where Do You Stand On The Geek Squad vs. God Squad Debate?

For at least two years, a priest in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, had been rolling the streets of his town in a VW Beetle with the words “God Squad” stenciled on its door in a design reminiscent of the logo seen on Best Buy’s Geek Squad vehicles. Now the priest’s car is unadorned after the retail chain got wind of his wheels and issued a cease and desist order.

To avoid running afoul of Best Buy’s legal team, the priest removed the logo. However, one of his fellow men of the cloth thinks the boys in bright blue have gone a little overboard:

There was never any kind of formal God Squad group or organization. Father Luke and some friends simply decided to design a car that would act as a cool and fun way to bring our faith into the public. It’s just a conversation starter… It’s obviously not a Best Buy vehicle. When people see the car in public they usually laugh, and then it leads into lots of great conversations with strangers about faith and God.

In a statement to the press, a rep for Best Buy says it only issued the C&D after much deliberation and that they’re willing to help the priest rethink his logo:

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… We’re confident that together we’ll come up with a good (dare we say heavenly?) solution for everyone.

As always, what matters most is your opinion:

Geek Squad owners send cease-and-desist letter to God Squad [JSonline.com]

Comments

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  1. sanjaysrik says:

    Doesn’t (non)geek squad have enough issues with mortals to want to mess with the ethereal as well?

    This will not end well.

  2. Daverson says:

    Perhaps if he hadn’t copied the overall design of the logo Best Buy wouldn’t have cared.

    • pop top says:

      But copying the logo was part of the point.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        It’s a bad point. What does religion have to do with technology?

        (in b4 “Amish”)

        • pop top says:

          It’s pretty obvious that it’s supposed to be a parody. That’s why the logos are similar. I didn’t think it was that hard to figure out.

          • Azuaron says:

            Parodies are only legal if they comment on the infringed content. That is, for “God Squad” to be a parody, somehow it has to comment on Geek Squad (it doesn’t).

            For instance, Weird Al’s song “Fat” is a parody of Michael Jackson’s “Bad.” “Fat” is (very obviously) commenting on the song “Bad,” not merely using the song “Bad” to comment on something else. This issue came up recently with the Hitler videos.

        • kc2idf says:

          Nothing. It’s about the catchiness. It is to be something just a little off to make your brain go “wait, what?”

          However, to me it is clearly beyond the pale. If they were just using the words “God Squad,” they’d probably be okay (though maybe run into problems with the rightsholders of Mod Squad). Putting up their markup of the logo, and putting it on a car like the ones Geek Squad uses, however, takes it too far. If it were a parody, fine, but I don’t think that argument holds water.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Simple. Best Buy is, and shall ever be, the brainchild of the devil. Its CEOs have been unknowingly corrupted by the devil, its employees unknowingly a party to the devil.

          This priest decided enough was enough, and went to open war against the devil. Each convert he claimed was one less person who would shop at Best Buy – because let’s face it, true children of God do not shop at Best Buy. This is a modern day Schwarzenegger of the cloth. And his 6th Day is coming. God bless that man, and God speed.

          /snark

      • Daverson says:

        Yeah, it’s Best Buy’s point too.

    • Salty Johnson says:

      It seems like they weren’t actually concerned about people confusing the logo with Best Buy’s. In fact, since the logo would only be funny if somebody already knew about Geek Squad, the God Squad logo would actually only serve to reinforce the Geek Squad branding. But the Best Buy rep said “But at the end of the day, it’s bad precedent to let some groups violate our trademark while pursuing others,” and they said they would help to come up with a new one, so it seems they only did so to make sure their trademark is still protected in the court of law, and that’s unfortunately something that they must do.

  3. Alvis says:

    He clearly intended people to mistake it for a Geek Squad vehicle at first glance – VW Beetle and all. Yeah, it’s probably not a big deal, but he knowingly tried to make his car look like one of theirs. Gotta side with BB.

    • jefeloco says:

      Don’t hate me for this, but I have seen this very same kind of imitation slathering the religious attempts to proselytize forever and it’s not going to stop soon. Religious groups have been producing poor copies of pop culture in order to spread their word for at least as long as I have been aware, get used to it.

      • Gramin says:

        Except this isn’t a poor copy. That picture looks like a damn good copy of the Best Buy geek squad vehicle.

      • sqlrob says:

        Thou shalt not steal seems like it should cover trademark infringement.

      • ryanasimov says:

        I’ve seen it, too. A church near me sends out endless postcard invitations using images from popular culture. “Subway” becomes “Godsway”, the Staples “Easy” Button says “Jesus”, “Starbucks” becomes “Son Bucks” (what?), and my personal favorite, “For all you do, His Blood’s for you”.

        • jefeloco says:

          “For all you do, His Blood’s for you”

          …mmmm, makes me want beer.

          But not Bloody beer… that’s gross. On the non-gross side of beer though, Costco is stocking Spaten Oktoberfest again for those that dig it :-)

  4. Eli the Ice Man says:

    Best Buy’s just frustrated that they’re more competent at computers than the Geek Squad ever will be.

  5. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    cmon really?

    is it the font of the text? it doesn’t even look like the same design.

    so any logo with a half filled circle and text on top/bottom is infringement?

    shame on you Best Buy

  6. digital0verdose says:

    I’ve seen Churches and religious groups do this with lots of mainstream logos. got god? is a good example, done in the exact same font and color.

    I believe they should have to work by the same rules as any other profiteering group. It would also encourage them to actually be creative but that is some irony that probably shouldn’t be discussed on this site.

    • mewyn dyner says:

      I’ve seen it called “Jesus Junk”. I find this stuff so horribly tacky.

      • Destron says:

        Ya I was walking through the store the other day and seen a “Faith Hero” cd that looked identical to the Guitar Hero video games – same font and everything, and the cover looked identical the Guitar Hero 5 game cover.

    • jessjj347 says:

      except they’re not a profiteering group

  7. pantheonoutcast says:

    Aren’t they essentially the same? Charge ridiculous prices but provide questionable services to people who don’t know much about science and technology?

  8. grumpskeez says:

    trademark infringement. Doesn’t matter who’s guilty of it. Same rules for everyone. While we’re clearing the pipes lets go ahead and end the tax exempt status of all churches.

  9. chaesar says:

    This is dumb. Sure it looks similar but the guy wasnt creating a negative association to Geek Squad, he’s a damn priest. It’s not like he was rolling around in a VW with “Rape Squad” plastered on the side.

    • Doubts42 says:

      Well he is a Catholic priest, so there could be some confusion.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      “…[T]he guy wasnt creating a negative association to Geek Squad…” Well, yeah, unless you are one of those people who don’t appreciate the practices of the Catholic church. Or who doesn’t like proselytizing religion. Or doesn’t like any religion. Then, you know, there might be a few negative associations.

    • Michaela says:

      We do live in a diverse world though, and not everyone out there likes Christians. Therefore, the logo could distance the company from those who don’t care for the priests religious views. Sure, most would understand there was no affiliation between the two, but there are also some really stupid people out there.

    • El_Fez says:

      *runs off to create Rape Squad logo*

  10. aloria says:

    Pretty sure Best Buy has to defend their trademark or they risk that whole “dilution” legal situation. Pretty sure trademark isn’t same as copyright where things like parodies are considered fair use, but IANAL.

    Wish theists would come up with significantly less cheesy ways to promote their faith, too. God Squad? That’s really the best you could come up with? Reminds me of the “Buddy Jesus” in Dogma with the comically out-of-touch Catholic church trying desperately to appeal to “hip young people.”

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      First, had the Catholic church actually created Buddy Jesus, I might have actually been interested.

      Second, Best Buy could have gone the classy route and publically endorse the God Squad program, and expanded it accross the country to priests who wanted to participate.

      That way, bible thumpers get what they want – exposure and converts – and BBY gets what they want – obvious parody that puts them in a good light and keeps them in the public eye, for free.

      • Orv says:

        Seeing as they’re already giving campaign money to anti-gay political candidates, that might even be consistent of them.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        “Hello God Squad, I’m having trouble understanding the Paracletian nature of the Holy Spirit.”

        “Have you tried erasing your Bible? Or maybe closing it and opening it up again a few times. What are you reading, King James? Maybe you should update the edition.”

    • inniskillin says:

      IAAL, and you are exactly right. You have to defend your trademark against all known infringers, or another infringer can use that against you. Also, being classified as a parody is not a defense in trademark law; the same likelihood of confusion (and/or dilution) standards that apply to all infringement cases will still be applied.

      • scratchie says:

        @inniskillin, if fair use doesn’t cover parodies of trademarks (as opposed to copyrighted works), how is that Topps has been able to publish Wacky Packages since the 70s? What about Mad and National Lampoon’s parody ads, which usually include parodies of the trademarks therein?

        • inniskillin says:

          @scratchie Just because there’s not a specific parody defense as there is in copyright law doesn’t mean that a parodic logo is automatically an infringing logo. The court (or the lawyers who are thinking about filing for an injunction) go through the likelihood of confusion analysis for a parodic use of a trademark just as they would for any infringer. In many instances, the parody would fall on the “not infringing” side of the analysis. There are slightly different tests in different circuits, but some of the relevant factors include 1) marketing channels, 2) likelihood that the TM owner would want to expand their brand into the defendant’s market, 3) intent of the defendant, 4) proximity of the goods (are they on the shelf together in the retail market?), 5) evidence of actual confusion, 6) strength of the TM owner’s mark, 7) similarity of the marks, and 8) degree of care likely to be exercised by a purchaser of this type of product.

          In a parody of a TM, like Wacky Packs, 2) would never be met, 1) and 4) are unlikely. 8) is mostly irrelevant due to 1 and 4 not being in play. The ones that are most likely to tip the analysis over to infringement in a parody situation are 3), 5), 6), and 7). Here, the problems are most likely 5) and 7), with a bit of 3). There was probably an instance of actual confusion, otherwise word would not have gotten back to Best Buy about it. 7) is obviously a judgment call, but it is easy to see how, especially with the logo being on a VW, someone could say that the marks were very similar. 3) comes into play because the priest obviously knew he was doing a takeoff of the Best Buy Geek Squad Logo.

          Then there’s dilution, which is a whole other can of worms. The case could have been decided on grounds that it blurred the TM (tarnishment is unlikely in this instance, but could easily happen in a parody case where the parody product was something unsavory). It’s too late at night to try to explain dilution in more detail; it’s pretty messy.

    • morsecoderain says:

      I also don’t see how this is a parody — doesn’t a parody have to comment on the original in some sense? They’ve just added their product name instead of the original.

      • Conformist138 says:

        Not really. I mean, you see parody t-shirts all the time. Things like “Mountain Dew” turning into “Mount and Do Me”. No comment on the original, just changing the name to be ‘clever’. While it’s lame, “God Squad” from “Geek Squad” does the same thing.

    • dg says:

      The only thing is that there’s no real likelihood of confusion here. No one in their right mind would confuse those g-dless heathens at Geek Squad with a Priest… The Priest should have told them to fuck off… Go ahead and sue WorstBuy – give it your Worst shot… I can’t wait to tell everyone that comes to mass on Sunday what a bunch of assholes you are.

      • modernsteph says:

        My understanding of Trademark law (it’s been a long time since I’ve been involved) is that you have to register your mark in classifications of the goods and services for which you intend to use the mark. That’s why there can be Bic pens and Bic BBQ grills. My guess is that if this priest attempted to register his God Squad mark under the classification of spiritual counsel (wherever that falls) he’d be granted the mark. Which I would totally encourage him to do.

        Even when there are two marks that are in the same classification of goods and services, the onus is on Best Buy to prove that the mark is confusingly similar and I’m pretty sure the PTO knows the different between geeks and gods.

  11. Rachacha says:

    I think it is the similarity of the “Geek Squad” and “God Squad” logos that set BB into action. While the two groups were presumably not competing (although I suppose some people may want to have their computers blessed) the similar logos and vehicle fleet was too uncomfortable for BB.

    Had the priests simply been using the name “God Squad” driving around in a Mini Cooper with a dog logo or a cross or praying hands on the car, I would not see a problem.

    Question however, would “God Squad” be considered taking the lord’s name in vain or somehow disrespectful?

    • Phil Villakeepinitrreal says:

      One car driven by one priest != a fleet.

    • Steeb2er says:

      IANAP but I don’t think ALL uses of “God” are considered in vain. Only unnecessary, disrespectful or indirect. Like, throwing out a “Where’s your signal?! Christ!” is clearly not a direct reference to Christ. But there’s no problem talking about God in appropriate contexts.

      I’d consider the whole thing parody and let it slide, but BB didn’t ask me.

    • Blueberry Scone says:

      Those were my thoughts, too. If he just happened to use “God Squad,” and everything else – the car, the logo, etc. – were completely different, then I wouldn’t have a problem with the term. I actually like the idea of the priest using “God Squad.” Kind of funny, and makes the priest sound like he just might have a sense of humor.

      • Batmanuel says:

        I think I’d only be taking the name in vain if it had said “Yahweh Squad” or “יהוה‎ Squad”. “God” could easily refer to Ba’al or any number of other gods. The Arbrahamic god only only really gets annoyed with you if you take his ACTUAL name lightly. So long as you stay away from the Tetragrammaton, you should be in the clear (which is why I find it vaguely annoying when people write “G_d”).

  12. Liam Kinkaid says:

    “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.”

    In other words, if the law of man says it is copyright infringement, and it does not directly contradict God’s laws, just go with the flow. However, if they can come to a compromise that satisfies both parties, more power to ‘em.

  13. Mecharine says:

    Its a shame they decided to ape the design of the Geek Squad logo. I dont think anyone considers them cool or relevant. Not anyone who knows their way around computers, which I assume is a good majority of “hip youngsters”.

    • aloria says:

      Exactly. Geek Squad is the laughingstock of all things computer related. Why would you use something as pathetic and laughable as Geek Squad to promote your religion?

      • chaesar says:

        like unfamiliarity with computers, religion mostly appeals to older folks and a small portion of youths

    • lyllydd says:

      Amen! Poor choice of logo on behalf of the priest. Does he really want the Church to be seen as a bunch of technologically challenged extortionists who take advantage of the desperate? I’m a believer, and even I think that’s a lousy idea.

  14. Remmy75 says:

    You know if the guy was in the computer fixing business I could have seen on Best Buys side. If I had to place a bet on this, I bet they decided to file the C&D because it was a religous thing. Look at the backlash Target got for supporting someone who is against gay marriage. They probably didn’t want backlash from athiests saying best buy supported christians or something crazy like that.

    • Mobius says:

      Best Buy contributed money to the same PAC that Target did and got backlash from it as well. Not as much as Target, but yeah.

    • mewyn dyner says:

      No, it’s a matter of trademark protection. With US trademark law you must defend your trademark from all infringement to keep it. If they let “God Squad” here slide they’d lose their trademark. This has nothing about it being a religious thing.

  15. coren says:

    No one would have said crap if he hadn’t aped the BB logo..

  16. chiieddy says:

    Doesn’t this fall under fair use and parody?

    • aloria says:

      AFAIK trademark doesn’t have the same fair use/parody protections as copyright does. They’re two different things with seperate sets of rules.

      • Riroon13 says:

        For at least 25 years, Christian T-Shirt makers have made ‘parody’-style tee shirts with logos immitating everything from Coca-Cola to Harley Davidson, without incident or legal threat.

        This is nothing but a BB corporate attorney trying to earn his keep. Shame on them.

        • BannedInBrittan says:

          and I guess those shirts were on cars which also resembled or almost matched the companies vehicles? Did the church put the coke parody on a big red soda delivery vehicle? Yeah didn’t think so.

          • Conformist138 says:

            No, but Coca-Cola DOES sell vintage-style t-shirts. And the shirts used by all types (many are religious, but not all) often mimic the shirts exactly. So, same thing. Not as obvious as a car, but still nearly identical products.

  17. RickinStHelen says:

    I hate to say this, and really, it sickens me, but I am standing up for Best Buy on this one. If you do not enforce your copyright, you can lose it. Now, if they help him with a new logo, that would be great. At least I am sure that Best Buy will do something soon that I find horrid and then I can go back to my usual dislike of them.

  18. TehQ says:

    Isn’t there a law about parodies? I know I’ve seen tons of stickers, shirts, whatever with parody logos. Wasnt there a shirt company or something called south butt that won in a trademark case against north face?

    Religion aside I think he was in the right. He probably could have fought it but i doubt he had enough money to battle Best Buy.

    • Dover says:

      When it comes to trademarks, it’s a question of brand dilution. Does the “God Squad” logo confuse consumers or dilute the Geek Squad brand? I could see it either way.

      The North Face settled with the The South Butt guy, but I would’ve been curious to see how a court would have handled it.

  19. TehQ says:

    Isn’t there a law about parodies? I know I’ve seen tons of stickers, shirts, whatever with parody logos. Wasnt there a shirt company or something called south butt that won in a trademark case against north face?

    Religion aside I think he was in the right. He probably could have fought it but i doubt he had enough money to battle Best Buy.

  20. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    How about they both go to hell?

  21. ngwoo says:

    Why does that logo style seem to attract the uneducated? Science needs to explore this.

  22. redskull says:

    This is probably not the popular opinion, but I’m with Best Buy on this one. If they don’t diligently protect their brand, they risk it becoming something generic like kleenex.

    The only reason it’s a topic of discussion is because it involved a church. After reading their press release, I think Best Buy handled it pretty well.

  23. balthisar says:

    The reason I chose, “No, the priest was doing no damage to the trademark” despite the fact that’s he’s obviously taking advantage of the distinctive logo is, (a) it could be parody, i.e., it acts as a conversation started, and (b) trademarks are protected for use in commerce, and on the surface this doesn’t look like he’s using it in commerce.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      Actually, it could be argued that the priest is using this trademark in commerce, if you consider that a priest’s job is to get people to attend his church. He uses that logo to draw attention and start conversations, which, for the priest, are going to be the first steps in converting someone to his religion, or (if already a member of his faith) to get him or her attending the priest’s church.
      This priest isn’t using the logo as a parody – a parody has to comment in some way on the thing being parodied. So, this doesn’t fall under any type of fair use.

  24. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    “As always, what matters most is your opinion:”

    Truer words were never misspoken.

  25. dr_drift says:

    God Squad is a fun name, but copying the Geek Squad logo and using the same car as the Geek Squad, I don’t know, it just seems like too much to me. I know they’re totally different entities and their businesses couldn’t be more different, but they may want to just go in a different direction. God Squad is cool enough a name on its own, really, and they could definitely do something creative with it.

    By the way, does this seem like an actual battle of Good vs. Evil? The righteous Father and his flock versus the hideous, greedy abomination that is the Geek Squad?

    • Batmanuel says:

      Yeah, but we’re talking about a Catholic Priest here. When you add up all the kiddie diddling priests, the ex-Nazi pope who helped covered it up, their opposition to condoms in the 3rd world where they would help stem the spread of AIDS, the Inquisition, the suppression of science in the middle ages, and all of the other horrible things the Church has done through the ages, Best Buy really doesn’t seem that evil any more since no one has actually ever been molested or died due to their policies. Sure, he may be a great guy, but the organization he works for is at least an order of magnitude more corrupt and evil than BB could ever dream of being.

  26. quirkyrachel says:

    I think the term G-d Squad is also used in the movie “Keeping the faith”. Does that mean that this pastor also owes the movie producers?
    And that the movie owes the Geek Squad?
    Or maybe the Geek Squad owes the movie producers?
    Or maybe they owe each other?
    Or maybe they should all just group hug.

    • gafpromise says:

      God Squad isn’t something they made up. It’s been in use in the Christian community for decades.

  27. NotEd says:

    As a parody of the tradmarked logo is this not considered legal?

    Really, I have no idea.

  28. Bativac says:

    Christian churches are infamous for their lousy “puns” on trademarked logos and slogans. Usually they profit (or non-profit I guess) off of t-shirts plastered with “parody” logos. Here’s a link: http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2010/01/loads-of-fishy-products-christian-goods-infringing-on-tms.html

    Yeah, they probably weren’t making any money off of this, but it’s an obvious attempt to call to mind the Geek Squad logo, so I can see why they were told to quit using it. I could also see them claiming that it’s parody if they want to keep using it.

  29. diasdiem says:

    Forget about that. What about the God Squad vs. The Mod Squad?

  30. akieran says:

    Maybe the church should sue Best Buy for using a ‘t’ symbol in their name.

    (think about it)

    • grumpskeez says:

      Silly christian. The ‘cross’ from the bible was allegory.

      Refuting long-held beliefs, theologian Gunnar Samuelsson of Sweden’s Gothenburg University says that the theory that Jesus was executed on a cross is based on tradition rather than historic text. Samuelsson, who is no slouch, has studied ancient Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic literature from Homer through to the First Century A.D., and can not find proof that the crucifixation occurred.

      The fact that Jesus was executed, and forced to walk to Calvary Hill is not in dispute, it’s just that Samuesson said there were many other ways that Jesus might have been tortured and killed. Samuelsson’s 400-page doctorate thesis, “Crucifixion in Antiquity: An Inquiry into the Background of the New Testament Terminology of Crucifixion,” says that there has never been any mention of “nails” or crucifixtion, but Christ did carry a “stauros” on his back to Calvary, but that stauros could mean anything from a tree trunk to a spiked pole, and not necessarily a cross.

      Where is your ‘t’ now?

      • joe23521 says:

        Seems to me that his theory does not prove that Jesus did not die on the cross, but only suggests that it is a possibility.

        In addition, I’m sure he’s the single most authoritative figure to ever study the crucifixion of Christ and the only person whose opinion matters.

        Further more, what is your point?

        • grumpskeez says:

          The church suing over the use of a t (which the OP suggests is a cross and I’m guessing an unregistered trademark of said church) is a idiot move considering that the cross was allegory and most probably never even happened. Adding to that my research has not found a trademarked cross or t for any church or religion. Care to enlighten us with a contradiction or are you just angry and illogical?

          Now if it was or is a registered trademark of some Church or religion (which I’ll be waiting for your evidence) and BB chose to use a font that had a bulge around the ‘t’ that could be misconstrued as Jesus on his allegorical cross then his argument would hold water.

          There; I spelled it out for you out of sheer goodwill.

          (think about it)

  31. athensguy says:

    Both sell services they can’t deliver, so they’re in the same business. I think Best Buy has a valid point in issuing a C&D.

  32. brinks says:

    I never thought I’d speak these words, but I AGREE WITH BEST BUY.

    It’s the same car with a similar logo. I don’t think it’s doing Best Buy any harm, but you either have to go after everyone or no one.

  33. redwing41 says:

    You can play the religion card all you want, but at the end of the day, the priest infringed upon the trademark to begin conversations with stranger.

    A church operates by the funding of its members, and the priests are usually paid. Thus, it is a business, whether for profit or not. It’s identical to Wal-mart performing the action.

  34. Bob Lu says:

    I am not a Christian but really, give him a break. Just like “The South Butt”, they are just a fun and creative ways to promote some ideas. How can anyone get confused between “God Squad” and “Geek Squad”?

    • BannedInBrittan says:

      yes actually in one of his interviews the priest mentions he gets mistaken for a geek squad employee semi-frequently. So your premise is flawed.

  35. KTrenholm says:

    Couldn’t they just claim it’s parody and be exempt from anything like this? It’s not like it’s harming the brand any more than Best Buy already has themselves.

    • JasonR says:

      It certainly seems like parody to me, and that’s legitimately protected fair use.

      It’s not like this guy is driving around trying to sell technology services. He’s not even offering a commercial product or service.

      • thompson says:

        Which professor did you have for Intellectual Property in law school?

        Right. While “fair use” can be a defense to trademark infringement, it is MUCH weaker than it is in the realm of copyright (parody isn’t a widely accepted fair use under trademark law – you can sometimes use it as a defense, but it’s very very difficult). Generally, trademark owners must vigorously defend their marks against all infringers or risk losing TM protection.

        • JasonR says:

          Funny… I was thinking of adding an “IANAL” to my comment but thought it was pretty clear that this was a lay opinion. Thanks for setting me straight about parody WRT trademarks. A little reading over lunch was very educational.

  36. common_sense84 says:

    How could anyone be for the church? This is blatant trademark infringement. Letting churches freely commit crimes is what allowed them to rape a bunch of kids.

  37. TC50327 says:

    They’re both Satan’s minions.

    Name one place that inspires more “GODDAMN IT”‘s than Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

  38. yessongs says:

    I think the Geek Squad could use some help from the God Squad.

  39. HowdyHowdyHowdy says:

    what happened to “i’m atheist”?

  40. ChicagoAndy says:

    Trademark law is all about avoiding confusion. Two independent companies are even allowed to use the same Trademark, if they’re in different industries, as doing so will not confuse people.

    For example, Apple Records and Apple Computers coexisted just fine for a very long time, until Apple starting selling music through iTunes. Only then did the Trademarks become a problem.

    Nobody is going to confuse ‘Geek Squad’ with ‘God Squad’. The names aren’t the same, and despite Best Buy’s wishes, Geek Squad technicians are not gods.

    Lastly, Why didn’t they go after ‘Mod Squad’, or ‘Fraud Squad’? Oh, right – those terms came first, and are generic. Seems like lots of ‘XXX squad’ are pretty generic.

    If it goes to court, I think it would be hard for Best Buy to win – but the priests would be bankrupted long before they won. I hope any settlement is fair to the priests.

    _Am

    • BannedInBrittan says:

      in his interviews with the media the priest said he does get confused for a geek squad employee semi-regularly. Same size, shape, font logo, same car, same color scheme of car. Yeah no way anyone would be confused there…

  41. friendlynerd says:

    I’d like nothing to do with either, please.

  42. Red_Eye says:

    should be covered as the parody it obviously was.

    • BannedInBrittan says:

      Parody is protection from copyright not trade marks. please read the 15 or so knowledgeable comments prior to yours on the subject.

  43. El_Fez says:

    Were they making money with it? Were they representing the church on official business? Were they selling God Squad shirts? Was this a business in any way?

    If not, then fuck Best Buy. It’s the guys car, he can put whatever the hell he wants on it.

  44. P_Smith says:

    In the item, the 50 year old virgin said, “It’s just a conversation starter.”

    No, it’s not. It’s an attention getter for an attention whore.

    Anyway, I say let them keep it. Geek Squad is useless, ineffective, obsessed with porn on your computer and takes your money without actually providing any services or tangible product.

    The priests do the exact same things.

    As for the name, where I’m from, “god squad” is derogatory, similar to “god botherers” and “buybull thumpers”. Maybe it’s not negative where they are, but….

  45. stormbird says:

    The Geek Squad, it could be argued, took the idea for their name from the Mod Squad. The God Squad, I presume, is a non-profit group that worries about ethereal issues, not ethernet issues. The cease-and-desist letter, however, created billable hours. See, this is why people hate lawyers.

  46. NumberSix says:

    The priests are part of a non-profit organization. I’m not even sure from this story if they were even so much as soliciting donations. With that in mind, I don’t see how this is any different than drawing a “Vans” logo on my PeeChee folder in high school.

  47. peebozi says:

    religion, and their devotees, evil and/or brainwashed sheep.

    :)

  48. peebozi says:

    this is a freedom of religion…seems as though many evildoers want to prohibit the free worship of any god (at least that are deemed appropriate) we wish.

    Santa Claus will judge each end everyone of you at the gates of antarctica…if you’re deemed worthy of following his teachings then you will enter a warm, hospitable garden to lay your death away!!

  49. Orv says:

    This strikes me as yet another example of a religious person feeling they’re above the law because they’re doing “God’s work.”

  50. dbeahn says:

    Somehow I doubt that anyone is going to confuse a priest in a car that says “god squad” with a computer repair service.

  51. Jerem43 says:

    This falls under parody. The priest wants to help people and Geek Squad want your money. Two sorta opposite facts

  52. BannedInBrittan says:

    Ok here’s my $0.02 on the issue. BBY had to defend their trademark, they had no choice. They sent the guy a C&D which is about as tame as it gets when dealing with lawyers. It’s basically them saying ‘please stop’. To all you commenting on parody: parody only protects you against issues with copyright and not trademark infringement. Plus there was no real commentary to fall under the parody guidelines.

    From: about 15 mins in: http://www.620wtmj.com/podcasts/jeffwag … eo=pop&t=a
    He admits he’s been mistaken for geek squad in the past.

    http://www.jsonline.com/newswatch/100788204.html
    He admits Geek Squad did inspire his car.

    Same size, font, shape, general design of logo. Same vehicle, same main color of vehicle.
    They had no choice but to tell the guy to stop. It doesn’t sound like they really wanted to but rather they had no choice.

  53. Ouze says:

    I don’t like Best Buy, and I don’t like religion. I’d say I dislike them relatively equally. I have no dogs in this fight.

    If Best Buy does not defend their mark, they risk losing it.

  54. Teki says:

    For gods sake, come up with your own logo – don’t steal other people stuff.

  55. Pax says:

    There’s two things here.

    One the one hand, Geek Squad _HAD_ to sent that C&D letter. If you fail to vigorously defend a trademark, YOU LOSE IT. And once it’s lost, it can NEVER be reclaimed.

    On the other hand, Trademark issues aside … I’m sorry, Churches don’t get a pass on the law. “Give unto Caesar what is his”, and all that.

  56. cys_av8r says:

    Karma is a bitch Geek Squad. You figure when your job is to go around and screw people who don’t know any better into paying for things that any monkey and a service manual could do, you would want God on your side.

  57. El_Red says:

    Its called parody and covered by 1st amendment.
    If it was “boob” squad, then BestBuy could complain.

  58. Jimmy37 says:

    God Squad is more similar to Mod Squad, the ’70s cop show. Best Buy does have a right to defend its trademark with respect to its look and feel, though. They wouldn’t have a case if the colors and font changed.

  59. gafpromise says:

    I think the logo looks similar enough that Best Buy has a point. On another note, you used to be able to buy T-shirts at Christian supply stores, that spoofed candy logos but had religious text in place of the candy bar name. Anyone know if those are still available or if they had to stop making them for similar reasons?

  60. SmittShow says:

    there you have it folks best buy is going to hell

  61. operator207 says:

    this boils down to trademark infringement or copyright infringement. As the BB rep said above, if they pursue one entity, but not another, they could possibly be in a legal battle to keep their trademark or copyright. I have a feeling that there is someone at BB that has a heart, or some form of morals and that is why they at least state they will be helping him redesign his logo.

    Another way to do this, is license the “look” of the logo to the priest for a small cost. Maybe have corp ask the priest for $100k, and make a $99,999.95 donation/coupon to his parish? It could be a “settle out of court” deal, where the proceedings are sealed from the public.

    It would be a win/win for both parties. BB keeps their “don’t use our logo” abilities, and the priest can go do the work he is trying to do.

  62. Bodger says:

    Do a quick Google search for “God Squad” and you will find that it is not even vaguely original. I wonder if the website with the same name is due for an ominous letter? Or the others who seem to have hit upon this oh-so-clever riff on “Mod Squad”?

  63. tundey says:

    Am with the God Squad. For one, all their services are free!

  64. s0s has a chewy nougat center says:

    I never thought I’d ever be siding with Best Buy, but I actually agree with them in this case–it’s not parody, and it doesn’t seem to fall within Fair Use guidelines.

    Something tells me that Satan had to ice skate to work today, and that I should watch out for flying bacon…

  65. Jonesey says:

    I think best buy has legality on its side, because this looks very much like copyright infringement…..that being said, what’s legal isn’t always right. I would be absolutely shocked if this priest manages to cost best buy business or steal the geek squads livelihood.

    On the other hand suing a church in the information age over your precious logo is a great way to convince the public that you are a douchebag corporation. If it were me I’d let the church run with it—-it’s free advertising and doesn’t risk a PR mess.

  66. Jimmy60 says:

    #8 – Thou shall not steal.

  67. PsiCop says:

    I’m not religious, but see nothing wrong with Fr Strand’s “God Squad” deal. Unless the souls he ministers to are electronic, then he’s not competing with BB and its Geek Squad. Leave the guy alone, fercryinoutloud. (I don’t dare say “Ferchrissake”!)

  68. joel. says:

    Wouldn’t this stand as parody and be held under First Amendment free speech law? Since it’s being used to gain attention and not for his own commercial use?

    Similar to this but even more clear-cut as the priest wasn’t selling anything.

    Regardless of your religious affiliation or aversion thereof, fair is fair.

  69. banmojo says:

    I was impressed with the language BB used to defend its decision. I don’t know enough about these laws to make any major contribution here, but given that the intention was to spark up conversations with the intent to ultimately share the message of Jesus with strangers on the street, I’m thinking BB could have let this one slip by. Clearly these aren’t people trying to ‘cash in’ on BB GS rep (hee hee hee, we all know their rep sucks anyways :^)))

  70. Incident8 says:

    One money making outfit against another and the one moving in on the others logo is tax exempt.

  71. axiomatic says:

    I am of the opinion that both are farcical and devoid of altruism. There can be no winner as anyone involved with either loses.

  72. satoru says:

    I think the main issue is that they use too many similar elements to the Geek Squad logo. The fonts are identical. The layout of the text is identical. The VW element might also be an issue, but you’d also have to check if they did a trademark of the logo being on a specific kind of vehicle as well. I’m not even sure that’s possible to be honest.

    Certainly they can use “God Squad” on their car. I think they just need to tweak the logo so it’s not such a blatant copy of the Geek Squad logo and they should be ok.

    This is probably just one of those ‘copyright dilution’ notifications. Pretty much par for the course.

  73. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    Heh. I don’t believe in organized religion, and I admit this does seem like a desperate move to attract younger believers. But it’s kinda funny. They should’ve made up their own logo.

    Maybe like a Super Friends thing with the Father, the Son and the Holy Space Ghost.

  74. ma1234 says:

    Anybody who thinks that this does no damage to the Geek Squad trademark is a moron. It does, because the law says it does. Trademark law will penalize trademark owners for the slightest of non-policing. So while Best Buy in reality might not care, it has to care, because the law forces it to care. Blame the law, not Best Buy.

  75. parv says:

    Best Buy should bankrupt the “god squad”, after which both squads can go down the toilet.

  76. SolidSquid says:

    He’s perfectly entitled to use the name (different area of work, so trademark law wouldn’t seem to apply), but afaik the logo would class as a derivative work under copyright law and as such would require Best Buy’s consent

  77. Levk says:

    Hmmm.. I never seen a Geek Squad Beetle anywhere but on ads every time i see the Geek Squad they have the mini vans, the priest should go around in a van and do that… But then I just like being mean to big companies that like to bully

  78. skakh says:

    Oh God, this is simply more bad publicity for good old Best Buy! Just what that terrible company needs, more negative press! Can’t wait for Best Buy to close its doors!

  79. Sally says:

    It’s parody and he’s not making money off of it. I’m no copyright lawyer, but doesn’t that make it fair use?

  80. ruralcowboy says:

    Best buy is obviusley more afraid of losing money,,than they are of god. If the CEO of BEST BUY were a true christian than he would be happy that the priest logo resembled his logo. A true christian would forgive and forget. Not cease and desist. Shame on BEST BUY.

  81. merlingod says:

    it’s not often that I side with Best Buy, but if they go after someone else who’s actually doing damage to their trademark this could be used as against them. The priest ripped of the whole thing from the logo to the VW.

  82. Bob says:

    Does Best Buy have a right to send a cease and desist order if I put ANY logo on my VW bug? Screw them!

  83. addicuss says:

    I hate best buy but i think they did the right thing. i wouldnt want my business being associated with any one religion at the risk of alienating others.