Wrapped branded vehicles are a wonderful way to promote your franchise brand. It is like a moving billboard. But what happens when the vehicle is involved in an accident and is totaled? What happens to the vehicles?
In the case of one Domino’s car, the whereabouts are now known. It has been featured on the YouTube channel Samcrac. Samcrac purchases and restores salvage vehicles. There is no doubt that it is a Domino’s branded vehicle. The hood has the Domino’s logo, it has a Domino’s car top and it is equipped with a Domino’s custom warming oven.
What is in doubt is what Domino’s can do about it. Samcrac was notified by YouTube of a trademark complaint received. Per YouTube’s complaint policy, Samcrac was encouraged to work something out with the complainant. YouTube would do its own investigation. If pursuant to its own investigation, YouTube found that a trademark violation was present, YouTube would remove the video. But the video was never removed.
Next Samcrac received an offer to purchase the vehicle from the complainant. The offer was low. The offer to purchase had terms that Samcrac did not like. Samcrac negotiated with the want-to-be purchaser, let’s delivery pizza to a school with disabled children and homeless shelters. Can Samcrac be forced to sell the car to the Domino’s? Samcrac has hired a lawyer and started a GoFundMe page. https://www.gofundme.com/PizzaCar
In an update Samcrac shut down the donations saying in an update:
Hey guys, earlier I shut off all donations and refunded everyone. I’d like to greatly thank everyone who took the time to visit this page, and especially those who gave. I’ve been offered assistance for this matter, and will be giving a little more information in tomorrows video. Thanks again.
Trademark infringement is about preventing customer confusion as to the maker or provider of services. Samcrac is not in the business of making or selling pizzas. Samcrac’s position is there is no custom confusion. Samcrac says it is making fair use of the trademark and Samcrac can’t possibly be forced to the sell the vehicle to the Domino’s franchisee. Note, Samcrac never says it is Domino’s franchise that filed the YouTube complaint or the one who is demanding to buy the car. To make matter worse. Samcrac has acquired a second vehicle thanks to a tip from a YouTube viewer.
Samcrac has meritorious arguments and could win. What a bad situation.
Source: franchise blaw