Best Buy to Newegg: All Your Geek Are Belong to Us

Best Buy is not happy with Newegg’s newest ad campaign. The big box claims the online retailer is in clear violation of copyrights held by Best Buy by using the word “geek.” The entire Geek On campaign is under fire, including a perceived infringement on the Geek Squad logo and, in a new commercial, unflattering portrayal of employees allegedly intended to depict those at Best Buy.

Newegg’s new Geek On campaign features a black and orange logo; Best Buy’s Geek Squad logo is also orange and black, though they do not look similar.

The added insult, according to Best Buy, is that Newegg ripped off their Black Tie Protection logo by making the “O” into a power button. Best Buy has issued a cease-and-desist letter.

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.

What do you think? Is Best Buy being ridiculous or has Newegg crossed the line?

[source]

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68 Responses to Best Buy to Newegg: All Your Geek Are Belong to Us

  1. " 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.” "
    I hate to say it… but this sounds pretty accurate as far as my experience with Best Buy / Geek Squad goes…

  2. Personally, I didn’t connect the ad with Best Buy until I read the cease and desist order.   They remind me more of Walmart/Costco employees.

     Perhaps GAS will get a cease and desist order for using geek also??

  3. Personally, I didn't connect the ad with Best Buy until I read the cease and desist order.   They remind me more of Walmart/Costco employees.

     Perhaps GAS will get a cease and desist order for using geek also??

  4. I just went to Newegg to get one of these shirts before they can't sell them anymore, and they only have it in small.  I WANT THAT SHIRT!

  5. A couple of things, it is probably a trademark case, not a copyright one. The laws and such are different, if it was copyright, there would be no case, as exact copying would have to be done, and this is obviously not the case. In the case of trademark, confusion is the standard that is used, and case law has generally shown that generic terms cannot be trademarked, and the fact that they both drew there inspiration from the power button, should not be a problem. 

    Like Diane said, she would not have associated it with Best Buy until the got all legal… Lawsuits like this are silly, as it just draws attention to the things that th plaintiff does not want people to see. they won't win.

  6. Yeah, the commercial is completely wrong… typical Best Buy employees are much better trained at acting as if they actually know what they are talking about.

    (Note I said typical – to the fairly rare excellent staff members at Best Buy: I'm talking about those coworkers you want to strangle every day)

  7. best buy should be happy we in the geek community don’t sue them for implying that the geek squad are legitimate geeks. Long live the Knuth!!!

  8. best buy should be happy we in the geek community don't sue them for implying that the geek squad are legitimate geeks. Long live the Knuth!!!

  9. In this case its clear… the newegg came first! and their right bestbuy employees are uninformed. Its a abomination to call themselves geeks.

  10. You cannot Copyright a noun to be used in conjunction with certain industries.

    The NFL cannot copyright "player" or "athlete" when referring to sports for this same reason.
    It's an out-and-out attempt for Best Buy to intimidate this company. 

    This is textbook corporation behavior. I will not be shopping at Best Buy if this keeps up. Just because Newegg is becoming more popular in this bad economy doesn't give Best Buy the right to muscle them into a legal battle.

    Chill out, Best Buy. You're making yourself look like an idiot.

  11. best buy employees dont know anything about computers.  geek squad actually knows less.  and yeah… no one would have associated that guy wtih best buy until they went all sad-sack on it.

    • Maybe it's just because I worked at Best Buy years ago (pre-geek squad), but it seemed pretty obvious to me that they were taking pop-shots at Best Buy when I saw the commercial a few days ago.  Now if  BB has a case, I don't see it, but this type of retaliation doesn't surprise me at all.

      I was honestly expecting to see BB commercials soon making fun of newegg.

      • Newegg has offered parts, completed systems, etc. etc. etc. for years++. There prices beat anything that BestBuy offers by an average of at least 5 bucks. They inform you if your purchaseing a CPU and MOBO thats not going to work together, that there not going to work together. Whats to make fun of! But Mr. Head I do agree with you, BestBuy probably will plaster every screen in existince with anti-newegg adds. From the afore mentioned overhead they rape ignorant users with, they definately have the cash!

        • when my harddrive crashed, i was recommended by a geek squad member to purchase it from newegg, even tho m ylaptop was still under warranty, i had them replace it and ended up going to the library to do my homework(school,work, social life > fixing computer, im not a techy)

        • when my harddrive crashed, i was recommended by a geek squad member to purchase it from newegg, even tho m ylaptop was still under warranty, i had them replace it and ended up going to the library to do my homework(school,work, social life > fixing computer, im not a techy)

      • Newegg has offered parts, completed systems, etc. etc. etc. for years++. There prices beat anything that BestBuy offers by an average of at least 5 bucks. They inform you if your purchaseing a CPU and MOBO thats not going to work together, that there not going to work together. Whats to make fun of! But Mr. Head I do agree with you, BestBuy probably will plaster every screen in existince with anti-newegg adds. From the afore mentioned overhead they rape ignorant users with, they definately have the cash!

  12. I didn't know you could sue someone else for your own bad service…

    Anyway, I agree with @41336d7f552ac3aa0e4a955ea95c0a28:disqus, I didn't fully connect this commercial with BB until I saw this. Reminds me of when Lindsey Lohan sued e-Trade for the baby commercial because she thought the "milk-a-holic" comment was directed at her.

    Insecurities seem to shine brightest when you try to fix a non-issue.

  13. This action from Best Buy? is reminiscent of how Taco Bell handled questions about their ingredients. EVERY time I've been in a Best Buy? store, I've gotten 'help' from an employee who has been through the same training program as the guy in the commercial. The only worse customer service is housed in Radio Shack.

  14. Blue colors, blue shirt…  Could be best buy or wal-mart but no logos used and they said geek and not geek squad…   Motion to dismiss the case on lack of merit and best buys lawyers wasting my time…  

  15. pffft… im a loyal newegg customer but just try asking newegg employees for ANY technical info..just yesterday i tried to ask about a simple hard drive bracket and was told that “newegg employees are unable to offer any technical advice, go ask the manufacturer” 

    • I actually got the impression they were talking about their reviews, which come from users, not employees. The message I got is that because many geeks use Newegg, many of the reviews are from experts… or at least nerds, which is close enough much of the time.

  16. pffft… im a loyal newegg customer but just try asking newegg employees for ANY technical info..just yesterday i tried to ask about a simple hard drive bracket and was told that "newegg employees are unable to offer any technical advice, go ask the manufacturer" 

  17. But Best Buy has no problem with "Chuck"?

    It's not like Newegg is known for better service… Their customers make up the "informed opinion". I can use those same reviews to look at products Best Buy sells as well.

    How dare someone point out that Best Buy's complete business model is low prices achieved through horrible service. You mean the guy who makes minimum wage isn't a computer expert? Tell me more.

  18. Best Buy welcomes friendly competition, that's why they've made it their business to stomp down every bit of competition that comes up, for here in Little Rock Arkansas, the ONLY electronic stores are Walmart (if you can call it that) and BestBuy, Circuit City is gone, CompUSA, and a couple of others, all gone (Fry's Electronics, Where art tho???).  I side with newegg anyways since I've been their customer for YEARS and because bestbuy's over 9000% markup on things make me gnash my teeth.

  19. I think Newegg is right… Best buy's prices are outrageous anyhow and their staff is not ver knowledgeable… Who is truthfully a geek and shops there anyway?

  20. I think Newegg is right… Best buy's prices are outrageous anyhow and their staff is not ver knowledgeable… Who is truthfully a geek and shops there anyway?

  21. I would never know if Best Buy employees know what they are talking about. Every time I go there they walk by really fast looking engrossed and don't make eye contact. I've NEVER EVER been helped by a Best Buy employee in the computer department…

  22. I would never know if Best Buy employees know what they are talking about. Every time I go there they walk by really fast looking engrossed and don't make eye contact. I've NEVER EVER been helped by a Best Buy employee in the computer department…

  23. Best Buy is being patently absurd, they're just upset because someone is calling them out. There is no copyright violation here. You can't copyright the word "Geek". You can't copyright a generic symbol which means "power on/off" for nearly every computer related device in the last 10-20 years.

  24. Best Buy is being patently absurd, they’re just upset because someone is calling them out. There is no copyright violation here. You can’t copyright the word “Geek”. You can’t copyright a generic symbol which means “power on/off” for nearly every computer related device in the last 10-20 years.

  25. This is completely ridiculous. The claims laid by Best Buy are flimsy at best (they own the word "geek", the universal power symbol, and the orange-black color combination?), and true at worst: Best Buy employees are universally incompetent in their chosen field, Geek Squad doubly so. They are selected for their ability to "learn" what the company wants, and not any actual knowledge.

    NewEgg (in complete contrast) knows what they're talking about, has great customer service, and actually SELLS THINGS I NEED. Furthermore, if you trademark a personal identifier for a whole subculture, you're going to piss off said subculture and lose them as customers. I already hated shopping at Best Buy because none of their staff could answer basic technological questions. Now this?

    I'm done with this company.

  26. I remember watching a Video where a guy went around asking people to fix his computer, and the "Geek Squad" suggested that he buys a new computer, that the hard drive is corrupt when yet all the person did was unplug the cables to the hard drive.

    Another time I went there asking for specific Ram and was told based on my computer the Ram I was asking for wouldnt work.  But I kept telling them I need this ram but instead after an arguement I bought the ram they had suggested and then brought my computer to the store to prove them wrong.

    Newegg FTW. Best Buy Geek Squad FTL.

  27. I had one Best Buy employee tell me that using a series of gestures I could right click without the mouse on my HP G62 Notebook.  She couldn't even find the fucking control panel on the demo computer.

  28. I had one Best Buy employee tell me that using a series of gestures I could right click without the mouse on my HP G62 Notebook.  She couldn’t even find the fucking control panel on the demo computer.

  29. Best Buy's colors are blue and yellow, yet in the commercial I only see blue. There isn't a smidge of yellow anywhere, not even on the name tag, which at Best Buy is… you guessed it… yellow.

    Unless Best Buy trademarked stupid, I don't see them winning here.

  30. Best Buy’s colors are blue and yellow, yet in the commercial I only see blue. There isn’t a smidge of yellow anywhere, not even on the name tag, which at Best Buy is… you guessed it… yellow.

    Unless Best Buy trademarked stupid, I don’t see them winning here.

  31. very accurate description of every best buy employee ive dealt with. newegg is superior in every way, and best buy has no case. the only thing best buy needs is a giant pacifier…. really. geek is not trademarked in any state, neither are black and orange logos

  32. very accurate description of every best buy employee ive dealt with. newegg is superior in every way, and best buy has no case. the only thing best buy needs is a giant pacifier…. really. geek is not trademarked in any state, neither are black and orange logos

  33. Best buy doesn't have anything.  It's blue AND yellow for them, and I don't see a power button being trademarkable.

    Also, the 70s called, and they want their sideburns back.

  34. 1. Where's the Yellow? I thought Best Buy's colors were Blue and Yellow, and Geek Squad's colors were Orange and Black. I only see Blue in this commercial.

    2."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" – this statement is false, because they aren't advertising their employee knowledge, they are advertising their user-base knowledge. In the other commercials, they talk about the user reviews – and in fact, one of their commercials is *with* a customer who talks about the product he purchased, why he bought it and the only con being now he wants more time to watch movies (it was a Home Theater main box – for the speakers, HMDI selection, etc.) They also depict this same customer controlling his TV with a Keyboard and Mouse – not something you usually see outside the realm of geek-dom, because it is seen as "difficult" to do – and the vast majority of services, such as Geek Squad, do not know how to properly do this (though there are exceptions on an employee to employee basis).
    This commercial even ends with a box that reads "Go Ahead. Review Me" on it, implying even more so that their slogan "Take it from a geek" is meant as "You can trust our reviews, they're written by customers, some of the biggest geeks out there. They know what they're talking about and we won't censor their reviews in an effort to sell more product – we'll just stock more of the higher rated products and put them on sale more often"

    Best Buy has no case – just like how Apple didn't have a case when they tried to copyright a specific phrase.

  35. I used to work for best buy (for all of two days).  I was between jobs and needed something to keep the rent paid and food on the table.  I have a bachelors degree in computer science and had applied to work as a bench tech.  They put me on the floor as a sales associate.  Then they didn’t even put me in the computer dept.  They put me in home entertainment.  LOL!  I didn’t know a thing about plasma TVs or home entertainment systems, and I had no training at all.  I was at work for 5 minutes and had to explain the difference between two TVs that I knew nothing about.  I’m sure I resembled the person in this ad.  On a side note I quit because I didn’t like their assumption that every employee is a thief and has to be searched and patted down when leaving after the day was done.

  36. I used to work for best buy (for all of two days).  I was between jobs and needed something to keep the rent paid and food on the table.  I have a bachelors degree in computer science and had applied to work as a bench tech.  They put me on the floor as a sales associate.  Then they didn't even put me in the computer dept.  They put me in home entertainment.  LOL!  I didn't know a thing about plasma TVs or home entertainment systems, and I had no training at all.  I was at work for 5 minutes and had to explain the difference between two TVs that I knew nothing about.  I'm sure I resembled the person in this ad.  On a side note I quit because I didn't like their assumption that every employee is a thief and has to be searched and patted down when leaving after the day was done.

  37. I think what's inaccurate about this ad is that the customer in the fake big box store was able to actually find an employee willing to help him.

  38. I think what's inaccurate about this ad is that the customer in the fake big box store was able to actually find an employee willing to help him.

  39. I've never talked to any Best Buy rep that knew squat about computers.. and on top of that everyone I know that's taken their computer to the geek squad to get fixed (don't ask me why..) has ended up bringing it to me afterward so that I could fix it and everything the geek squad "fixed"; ie. screwed up.  Sounds like they're just calling how it is.

  40. Should Best Buy be sued by the people who created the Universal Power Symbol then? And will Best Buy sue everyone using the word "geek"- including Geeks Are Sexy?? Our litigious society makes me want to move off-grid sometimes.

  41. *rant mode on*

    If you've EVER gone into Best Buy to attempt to buy ANYTHING, or even to get information and do some product comparison, you'll find that the commercial is, sadly, pretty damn accurate. At least, it is at my local store. I doubt that the commercial is a completely fictionalized account – it's probably based on someone's real-life experience, as reported to Newegg. I've personally always thought that the name Best Buy is misleading in and of itself, since their prices are RARELY better than anywhere else's. A mail-in rebate is not a discount and doesn't make it a good buy, when you still have to have the full price in hand to make the purchase. :P
    *rant mode off*

  42. Gimme a break…free publicity for Best Buy for making it a case.  If the shirts were red, then Target would try to sue!

  43. to me it was obvious that they were taking a shot at best buy. the blue shirt, they store layout and the display counters look almost exactly like best buy's.
    based on other comments though, it seems like you are not alone.

  44. no kidding. i don't hate best buy, but their geek squad is terrible. in my experience they are expensive, slow and most importantly, they don't know what they are doing. their solution to any non-hardware problem is format/reinstall windows. and they will be happy to backup 4.7 GB for only $100.

  45. The Best Buy regular employees are usually ok with helping you choose a new computer and the difference but Geek Squad is TERRIBLE. I am a Network Technician and I could not imagine working for a company that will pay you $12/hr but charge the customer $150/hr. When I graduated college they offered me a job and I turned them down. The next time I went there it was a bunch of High school kids who had no clue what they were talking about. When you offer such low salaries how can you expect good employees?

  46. The Best Buy regular employees are usually ok with helping you choose a new computer and the difference but Geek Squad is TERRIBLE. I am a Network Technician and I could not imagine working for a company that will pay you $12/hr but charge the customer $150/hr. When I graduated college they offered me a job and I turned them down. The next time I went there it was a bunch of High school kids who had no clue what they were talking about. When you offer such low salaries how can you expect good employees?

  47. I have a general disdain for Best Buy, and as such shop there very rarely. However, last holiday season I built a desktop PC as a gift and miscounted the number of SATA data cables I had on hand, and as such didn't order enough from Newegg. In a pinch I went to my local BB in search of a couple. I had to ask three people (all in the computer department, mind you!) before I found a clerk that even knew what I was talking about. I'm not saying every member of their staff has such a degree of inadequacy, but in my experience it has been rather consistent.

    Newegg absolutely destroys Best Buy in terms of price, selection, customer service, and knowledge. Period. Based on their response to this commercial, I think they know it, too.

  48. I have a general disdain for Best Buy, and as such shop there very rarely. However, last holiday season I built a desktop PC as a gift and miscounted the number of SATA data cables I had on hand, and as such didn’t order enough from Newegg. In a pinch I went to my local BB in search of a couple. I had to ask three people (all in the computer department, mind you!) before I found a clerk that even knew what I was talking about. I’m not saying every member of their staff has such a degree of inadequacy, but in my experience it has been rather consistent.

    Newegg absolutely destroys Best Buy in terms of price, selection, customer service, and knowledge. Period. Based on their response to this commercial, I think they know it, too.

  49. I have to step in here, i am a Geek Squad Agent from the UK and while i can't obviously speak for the company or our US colleagues, in the UK we go through a massively in depth recruitment process starting with an online interview, if you succeed at this you get a telephone interview, passing this nets you a place at an assessment centre where you are tested with a written test and a practical examination.  Then you are interviewed one at a time as a person to discover if you are really what they are looking for, then the interviewees are wittled down to a select number who are then interviewed again and then if they like what they have seen you are selected to join other new recruits for two weeks of "Boot Camp" running from 9am-6pm everyday for two weeks where they brush up your skills and if you get through that, then you are given the uniform and assigned to a precinct with an existing Agent to shadow him/her for a further week before being put into your own Precinct, so i can safely say in the UK Geek Squad do know what we are doing and our customer service scores reflect this, i've had people come into my store angry/upset/despondent but they always leave smiling, and they always leave with the problem fixed.

  50. Retail employees are exactly that, retail employees. They are not experts. They are not paid to be experts, and they're barely paid enough to care! I used to work at Lowe's, and the best I could tell you about most of the products, was what was written on the box.

    And now, retail stores are implementing the "full floor" concept, in which every employee is expected to help a customer in every department, but not bothering to train them in more than one department.

    Oh no, you can't page someone else who actually WORKS in that department, because there's probably nobody there. And forget about calling a manager– they just say "well, help the customer yourself" and hang up. Meanwhile, the customer call button in YOUR OWN department is ringing.

    Sure, in the HR office they had books and computerized training modules available, but when you're by yourself running two departments, AND expected to stop and help customers in other departments too– When are you studying, when are you learning new stuff? Your manager is going to let you off two hours early, so you can do some extra training modules? Yeah right. Get back on the sales floor.

    So no, newegg isn't lying at all. That's exactly how it is and it's their own fault it's that way.

  51. This reminds me of the Mac vs. PC commercials for some reason. Who got butthurt over that?

    And I only go to Best Buy to dick around in their guitar demo rooms anyway.