Monday, June 20, 2011

Best Buy protects the "Geek" in "Geek Squad" -- even from "Chuck"

Nathan Kopper has a brief article “Geeks become popular in trademark disputes”  (link) and Miguel Bustillo has a more detailed story on the front page of the Monday June 21 Wall Street Journal about legal action taken by Best Buy (of Richfield, MN) against other companies for trademark infringement with the word “Geek”, since Best Buy owns Geek Squad (link). 
.
Best Buy says that it only acts when the trade dress (the orange and black or formerly black and white emblems and uniforms) or other practices, like calling techies agents, are involved. 
There have been other companies that use the “geek” word, apparently without problems, like Geeks on Call (link).

Best Buy objected when NBC wanted to use the Geek Squad and the Best Buy chain in the comedy spy series “Chuck”, which wound up inventing the “Nerd Herd” and “Buy More” pseudo-trademarks for the show (with different colors).  Publicly traded companies worry that if they are not aggressive in defending trademarks against small infringements, larger battles will ensue. Remember the battle back in 1999 between Amazon.com and a small Minneapolis bookstore?

Commercial films and television series often do use fictitious variations of major corporate names, apparently because of trademark dilution law. 

Anyway, your favorite younger musician (even classical) is now a geek, and your future boss will be a geek. Remember what the Erika character tells a fictitious Mark Zuckerberg at the end of the opening scene of "The Social Network"?  

Picture: no, there's no connection between Best Buy and LDS.  I just wanted to use this old family trip picture. 

No comments: