Craigslist Sues Craigstruck, Who Offers To Settle The Lawsuit Over A Football Bet

from the legal-strategy?-meet-marketing-strategy dept

You may recall a couple years ago that when Mojang was facing a trademark battle from Bethesda over the word "scrolls" in a video game title, Mojang's Notch (aka Markus Persson) offered to settle the dispute via a Quake 3 match, rather than in a courtroom. It seems like we've got another such situation here, where the operator of Craigstruck, who has been sued by Craigslist, is offering to settle the dispute via betting on the Seattle Seahawks (Craigstruck is based in Seattle) to beat the San Francisco 49ers later this year.
You can see the actual lawsuit, which Criagslist filed back in April. While Craigstruck owner Mike Hanson claims that he has a strong case (and is only doing the bet because it's so expensive to fight a legal battle), I'm not convinced that Craigstruck would prevail in court. While I'm not convinced it should be considered trademark infringement, I could definitely see a court deciding otherwise. Craigstruck is a delivery service that promotes itself as the way to get products bought via Craigslist delivered. While the site is pretty clear that it's not associated with Craigslist, it's not out of the question to suggest that some potential users might be confused (though, I'd argue, very, very few). It also seems a bit odd to focus so much of a business on one key point: that you can deliver stuff bought via Craigslist. Seems limiting to me... which might be why Hanson seems willing to give up the name and everything if the 49ers beat the Seahawks.

Of course, he also recognizes that the Seahawks dominated the 49ers once already this season, and is probably hoping for a repeat in their second matchup. Either way, the chances of Craigslist taking him up on this bet are likely about as close to zero as you can get. Still, he gets points for creativity.


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  1.  
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    PopeRatzo (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:21pm

    Pitiful

    No wonder our economy is stuck in the mud, if this is what passes for an "entrepreneur".

    There's a real problem when you don't have enough jobs and people like this are forced to either create a start-up or work in fastfood.

    We really need to do everything we can to get some manufacturing jobs back the US so guys like this can have a decent middle class life without having to clown.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 8:59pm

    He gets -10 points for stoopid.

    Anybody willing to gamble a business on events entirely out of their control deserve to lose. If Craigslist were to present this wager to me on the jury, I'd find for them as obviously this clown doesn't care about facts, just hopes for luck.

    Oddly, the name strikes me as deceptive knock-off. --
    "(though, I'd argue, very, very few)" -- Because you like being wrong? -- It's a deliberately deceptive choice that until AFTER one is informed makes for near certain mistake.

    But the stoopid football hook will gain favor with dolts. -- That's nailed down by evidence.

     

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  3.  
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    TKnarr (profile), Sep 25th, 2013 @ 10:11pm

    Not confusion, but taking advantage

    I think here the issue isn't confusion, it's that Hanson's deliberately taking advantage of the Craigslist name to advance his own business. He's deliberately made his name similar enough that anyone seeing it will automatically think of Craigslist, and that recognition's going to carry over to his benefit. That's exacerbated by the fact that his business is deliberately aimed at Craigslist customers who're already primed to make the association by dealing with the name he's trying to imitate. The combination is what makes Craigslist's case here.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 25th, 2013 @ 10:15pm

    Re: Pitiful

    Agreed and to kick-start the Economy I believe you, PopeRatzo, with your infinite wisdom should submit a decree clearly defining what passes for an "entrepreneur". Clearly with your vastly superior intellect it would only be naturally for you to be the sole decider in what should count as a real job/Business?

    Providing a Service that certain customers clearly want and isn't provided elsewhere? Irrelevant to the great PopeRatzo! Why can't people see that investing in a Business opportunity that provides a consumer a service they want is the path to the damnation of the economy.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 12:34am

    Re: Not confusion, but taking advantage

    He's deliberately made his name similar enough that anyone seeing it will automatically think of Craigslist, and that recognition's going to carry over to his benefit. That's exacerbated by the fact that his business is deliberately aimed at Craigslist customers who're already primed to make the association by dealing with the name he's trying to imitate.

    If it's not harming Craigslist, why is that a problem? There are tons of businesses that build on the works of other companies by offering complementary products. Why is it a problem here?

     

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  6.  
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    Zem, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 2:04am

    Re: Re: Not confusion, but taking advantage

    The problem would arise if his customers believed that they were dealing with Craigslist, or an endorsed third party.

     

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    Pragmatic, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 3:23am

    It might have been a better idea to contact Craigslist and make a deal RE: the name. Whether or not the name is a problem is irrelevant. The fact is, people will sue their own mothers over burnt toast as the economy continues to drag its ass on the ground. We need to factor that into our business decisions or be prepared for the worst.

    I never said it was fair, just that it's happening.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 4:03am

    I think that the idea of offering secure delivery might be good. Suppose I want to sell a camera via Craiglist. Said delivery service could go get the camera, check if it is working and deliver with warranty for both sides. Or something like.

    I certainly volunteer to test the hookers they'll be delivering though =/

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 5:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Not confusion, but taking advantage

    So basically what you're saying is it would be fine if only this phrase from their site "This site is in no way associated or affiliated with Craigslist.org. Craigslist® is a registered trademark of Craigslist, Inc." was in a larger font or more prominently placed? Currently it's at the bottom of the page in smallish print.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 5:08am

    Re: Not confusion, but taking advantage

    If the origin of the goods and services provided is clear then it isn't a trademark issue.

     

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    Oblate (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 6:03am

    For sale: 1 football game, slightly used...

    If they take the bet, Craigslist had better hope that none of the players on the 49ers have been burned buying something off their site...

     

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    P Nelson, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 9:11am

    Do not hate a small business owner

    There are many company's that sound like Craigslist. They seem to want to sue any one who uses the name Craig or List.
    Mr Hanson seems to be living the American dream. Created his own business and is his own boss. The sad part is people seem so upset by his great idea. He has done a great thing by challenging a corporation who likes to Bully small businesses.

    Craigslist knows they wont win the bet so they most likely will decline. But you cant hate on Mr Hanson for throwing the challenge out there. Understand if you spend all you have to start up your own company and you put your blood a sweat and tears into it making a great life for himself!

    GO CRAIGSTRUCK!!!!!!!

     

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    kog999, Sep 26th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    I'm curious if the court would enforce the terms of the bet if the loser of the bet decides to go back on their deal and continue the lawsuit, or keep the name anyway. somehow i doubt the court would enforce it.

     

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    Aaron Wolf (profile), Sep 26th, 2013 @ 11:20pm

    Craig Struck??

     

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  15.  
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    Kai (profile), Dec 16th, 2013 @ 11:28am

    You guys are silly

    This guys idea is AWESOME!! With all of the crime out here nowadays, nothing wrong with purchasing something on craigslist and having this company go pick it up for me. Safe way to do business. The only stupid idea is NO IDEA!! Remember that for all of the people making fun of his business. You OBVIOUSLY are cubicle rats sitting on your arse.

     

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