Best Buy smacks down God Squad

Father Luke Strand learns Best Buy takes copyright issues very seriously.
Father Luke Strand learns Best Buy takes copyright issues very seriously.

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time to Father Luke Strand back in seminary: Gussie up a Volkswagen Beetle to mimic those Best Buy "Geek Squad" cars used by the company's house-call nerds. Have the logo on the door read "God Quad." Paint the car black with a priest's collar on the hood. Use it to spread the gospel.

But copyright violation isn't covered in seminary, and Strand, now a priest in Fond du Lac, Wis., has been slapped with a cease-and-desist order from lawyers at Minneapolis-based Best Buy. He's learned that the electronics retail giant takes its ownership of the "Geek Squad" trademark very seriously, and he can't drive his nerdy car around anymore.

A spokeswoman for Best Buy told the Journal Sentinel the company felt bad for getting in the way of what Strand obviously thought was God's work, but, well, rules are rules. Not wanting to appear too hard-hearted, she said the company would work with the priest to try and find a solution amenable to both parties.

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," she said in an e-mail.

"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," friend Father Dan Janasik told the Journal Sentinel in an e-mail. "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."

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