The ‘trademark violation’ mini saga of Reddit Vancouver and Arby’s


A section of the Vancouver subreddit page banner showing Arby’s. Photo: r/Vancouver

The Vancouver Reddit community was up in arms this week after the page was allegedly ordered to take down its carefully crafted banner image due to a “trademark violation.”

The Vancouver subreddit’s page banner, for those who aren’t frequent redditors, is a mash-up of the many wonderful icons and topics that Vancouverites love to discuss.

It features everything from public transit, cyclists, Car2Go, former Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, B.C. Premier John Horgan, N-Drivers, hemp-beer and Arby’s.

Unfortunately, the addition of Arby’s – the famed roast beef sandwich establishment – to the page banner, was not well received by the restaurant chain. Or so it seems.

A Vancouver subreddit moderator by the name of soupyhands alerted redditors in a post that Reddit Legal had contacted the page’s modmail on Tuesday to “advise us that having an Arby’s logo in the subreddit banner constitutes trademark violation.”

“We are expected to remove the violation immediately,” soupyhands wrote.

“As a result I have temporarily taken down the subreddit css while we revise it for compliance.”

He finished the post with, “I guess Arby’s doesn’t like free advertising…”

The moderator linked to an image of the email received from Reddit Legal which gave instructions to the team to review their subreddit and make the necessary changes.

“We received a claim alleging your use of some or all of the following items on your subreddit infringes the trademark rights of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc (US Trademark Registration No. 1081230),” Reddit Legal stated.

The response from redditors to the request can be summed up by the top comment on the original post, “Arby’s is dead to me.”

Others posted that it was “an act of war” and “to punish Arby’s, I am going to continue never eating there.”

The conversation then led to what would replace the Arby’s logo in the banner picture. Some suggestions included the Polish hot dog combo at Costco, Harvey’s, Church’s Chicken and A&W.

However, the logo won’t have to go after all. By late Wednesday, Arby’s had apparently changed its mind.

Moderator soupyhands told redditors in a second post that, “Reddit Legal just contacted us via modmail to let us know that the rights holder has cancelled the trademark infringement report.”

“I guess they do appreciate the free advertising after all,” he wrote.

The page banner will be back up shortly.

Vancouver is Awesome reached out to Arby’s PR team about the infringement report but is yet to get a response.