'Geek Power': Best Buy Sends C&D To Newegg Over Marketing Campaign
from the oh-come-on dept
Ah, Best Buy. It’s apparently decided to get into the trademark bullying business. The company sent well known online electronics retailer Newegg a cease & desist (shown below) because Newegg is running a marketing campaign called “Geek On” with the “O” in “On” made to look like a “power on” button. Best Buy claims that this is biting off its own Geek Squad logo, which similarly uses a power on button (though, with a tie):
The fake Best Buy employee is depicted as being slovenly and uninformed about computer products, in contrast to your employees who are portrayed as “experts.”
Your misuse of our valuable trademarks and your negative portrayal of our employees violate our trademark rights and misleads consumers about our services, in violation of federal and state law. While we welcome fair competition, we cannot tolerate unfair competition that disparages our employees, confuses customers and damages our valuable trademarks and the goodwill associated with those marks. We take great pride in our employees and the high quality of customer service they offer and find your company’s focus on our employees in this advertising campaign to be particularly offensive.
Of course, there are all sorts of problems with these claims. The logos looking nothing alike, as we’ve already discussed, but the whole thing about the TV ad is just ridiculous. There’s clearly no trademark issue there, as competitors are absolutely allowed to poke fun at each other. No one is going to think that Best Buy “sponsored” the Newegg commercial. There’s no consumer confusion at all. More amusingly, the fact that Best Buy thinks that Newegg is portraying Best Buy employees says a lot about how Best Buy views its own employees.
Of course, as many are pointing out, this whole thing has done the exact opposite of what Best Buy probably wanted. First, it’s driven a ton of attention to Newegg’s commercial, but more importantly, it’s made Newegg supporters — who are generally quite tech savvy — really dislike Best Buy even more than they may have already. Newegg had posted the C&D letter on its Facebook page, and the response are almost universally anti-Best Buy: