City Desk

Metro Sends Cease-and-Desist to Parody “HotCars” Site

Parody Metro dating network Metro HotCars—"Here to Turn Up on the Heat on Your Love Life"—had people laughing last week, but Metro wasn't amused. At the time, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said the transit agency was "reviewing its legal options" against the humor site.

Today, it looks like they're done reviewing.

Metro has sent HotCars creator Kyle Conrad a cease-and-desist letter, warning him to stop using Metro's "M" and SmartBenefits logos.

"You are misappropriating the goodwill associated with WMATA, which we have worked very hard to cultivate, and illegally using this goodwill to promote your business," Metro Associate General Counsel Mark R. Pohl writes in the letter (available in full below), dated May 24.

Stessel confirms to City Desk that the letter is legitimate. Via email, Conrad tells City Desk that he hasn't decided on his response to the letter. City Desk will let readers decide for themselves how much goodwill is associated with WMATA.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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  • cminus

    "You are misappropriating the goodwill associated with WMATA"? What goodwill??? Speaking as a daily subway commuter, I can't imagine how this could further hurt WMATA's reputation.

  • DC

    Goodwill means something different in the world of intellectual property than in normal speak. It means the intrinsic and quantifiable value of a recognizable trademark. It doesn't mean that what people feel about that mark is "good".

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  • Rik

    Actually, goodwill has a lot to do with "good." Goodwill is the expectation that customers will continue to patronize an established brand or business based upon reputation or past dealings.

    If Metro has any goodwill, it is only because Metro has a near monopoly in providing public transit in DC and the inner suburbs. And given Metro's declining ridership, it appears that the goodwill that Metro claims that it has is decreasing. No doubt Stessel the Liar will blame Metro's declining ridership on Hotcars for abusing Metro's reputation.