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Blogger In Legal Trouble with Best Buy

Minneapolis (MN) - Best Buy this week sent a cease and desist letter to online blog Laughing Squid for writing about a T-shirt that uses Best Buy’s "tag" logo.

Laughing Squid wrote a story about Improv Everywhere, an online destination where groups of actors pull outrageous publicity stunts. The website has a store in which it sells t-shirts with the words "Improv Everywhere" in a Best Buy price tag logo.

The Laughing Squid blog posted an image of the shirt in its story and shortly thereafter received a letter from Best Buy’s legal department, saying in part, "It has come to our attention that you are using the tag design on your website to promote tee shirts sold by Improv Everywhere ... This unauthorized use is in violation of Best Buy’s trademark and copyright rights and constitutes trademark, trade dress, and copyright infringement."

Upon receiving the letter, blogger Scott Beale said, "I called the Best Buy attorney who sent it to confirm that they really meant to send it to a blogger who was just reporting on another blog post. They insisted that I was ’promoting, not reporting’ and that the demand letter was valid."

The next day, Best Buy sent Beale another letter saying, "Now that we have a better understanding of your website, we regret sending you the demand letter."

Beale called the events "amazing", and said his advice to companies is that their "PR departments should become more involved and aware of what their legal departments are doing with regards to the community at large."