Newegg Rejects Best Buy's Copyright Infringement Claim

Last week Best Buy issued a cease and desist order to online electronics retailer Newegg over the latter company's use of the word "geek" in its latest advertising campaign. Best Buy's aggravation was also compounded by the similarities between its own Geek Squad Logo colors (orange, black and white) and Newegg's Geek On logo colors (also orange, black and white), and the similarities between Newegg's use of the "power on" symbol in "on" and Best Buy's tie-in-a-power-on-symbol.

Best Buy also wasn't happy about Newegg seemingly making fun of Best Buy employees in a recent TV ad.

"Best Buy has spent many years building goodwill in its distinctive GEEK SQUAD Mark, Geek Squad Trade Dress, and Tie and Power Design mark," the company said in the two-page letter. "As a result, these marks and trade dress have come to identify Best Buy's Geek Squad services to consumers around the country. Given Best Buy's substantial investment over the years in building equity in these marks and trade dress, Best Buy cannot permit activities which place that valuable goodwill at risk."

"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" the company said further on in the letter. "While we welcome fair competition, we cannot tolerate unfair competition that disparages our employees, confuses our customers and damages our valuable trademarks and the goodwill associated with those marks."

On Tuesday Newegg responded to Best Buy's request, saying that it disagrees with the rival's claim of copyright infringement. "Best Buy neither owns nor has exclusive rights to use the word 'Geek,' and Best Buy neither owns nor has exclusive rights to use a general, unstylized computer power button icon.'

The letter also addressed Best Buy's concerns over the TV ad, saying that it doesn't constitute trade disparagement, but is merely a "comedic, tongue-in-cheek take" on a commonly understood customer experience. "[It] does not name, identify or focus on any particular retailer, and we believe that the actor portraying the salesperson is not 'slovenly' in any way," Newegg said.

But to make amends and not offend Best Buy and its employees, Newegg edited its TV spot with a disclaimer saying that the photoplay is a work of fiction, and that no animals were harmed in the making of the controversial commercial.

    (best buy < new egg) && (new egg > bestbuy)

  • Kaiser_25
    whats terrible is this is no exaggeration at all, best buy and radio shack have people just like this working for them, they have no idea what they are selling, and OF COURSE they overcharge by an insane margin..
  • guardianangel42
    I loved that commercial; it was very funny.
  • Best Buy knows it's losing sales and this the main culprit. I never goto BB just because they charge so much for what really isn't exspensive at all, let alone I have never met anyone there who wasn't after the commision. I knew someone who worked there and they said it's usually a 40% markup..
    Newegg has shown through it's sales and prices just how good they are. The reviews happen to be there, and the weight of them shine through now.
    I am a geek, I live, breathe, eat, sleep, work computers, so the commerical is correct.
  • 11796pcs
    Go pout in a corner Best Buy, your actions just made me make all of my electronics purchases Newegg ones. If BB takes this to court and wins it will symbolize everything that's wrong with this country. On a lighter note, the disclaimer was awesome- "no animals were harmed in the making of this commercial"- pure awesomeness.
  • fpsgamer_10
    Newegg's parody is spot on. From my experience, their sales floor employees just don't know much or if anything at all. They can only show you the direction to where you want to go, write a rain check and do checkouts. Awhile back, a major News corporation did an uncover investigation on major and local pc repair stores, and Best Buy's was one of the worse. The News corp undercover team brought in a pc (with a single unplugged cable which caused the pc to not boot up), and Geek squad not only overcharged them to just make a diagnosis, but claimed that the pc had major viruses, and needed a new hdd b/c it was corrupt and unusable. The bill ended up in the 250 range.

    But one rare occasions, Best Buy will have sale on a product that you may want to buy.
  • aznshinobi
    Due it was so true, Best Buy employee's don't know **** about computers. I'll ask em what a certain laptop has over another one, they just read me the specs.
  • christop
    The commercial is funny and so true. I would not say it was directed at bestbuy cause all of the electronic stores are all the same they don't know what the hell they are selling and really don't know the difference between a I5 or an I3 cpu. They do know to try and sell upgrades and extended warranty.
    Best Buy sucks. Sorry, I can't put it any other way. After dealing with the Geek Squad for wanting to seriously overcharge me for some lame premium to include a million other services that I had absolutely no use for, they leave me no choice but to say...well...they suck. Lets see, I ended up having a motherboard with some bad parts on it. Best Buy wanted to charge me $200 to find out the problem. Fry's, on the other hand, $70, and this price gets right to the point. No bloatware, not bloatservice (I just made that term up myself), just find the damn problem and let me decide what to do next.
  • I have to defend BB and the Geek Squad. Bestbuy may not always have the most intelligent sales associates, but often, if you're watching, you can find a guy who knows the difference between DDR2 and DDR3. As far as the Geek Squad goes, They take a lot of crap from a lot of people... but the services MUST be both priced fairly AND decent if they are in business.

    Simple economics would show that the company would go out of business if it is indeed like it is portrayed on these comment boards and in that commercial. Not all Sales associates and Geek Squad agents are great, but not all are mediocre either.

    As far as infringing upon the trademark? Well, technically I do believe it is infringing, as they are the same industry, using the same colors, and a similar symbol trying to push the same product. Don't defend Newegg trying to capitalize on Geek Squad's name brand - Apple, AT&T and others have sued less obvious rip offs.