As if business owners did not have enough to worry about with Yelp reviews, now, a federal district judge in Florida has decided that a lone, anonymous post on Yelp carried enough weight to order a fitness club business owner to stop using their name, "Fit U."
"YouFit, a five-year-old chain of health clubs based in Florida, brought a trademark infringement complaint against former franchisees who operate health clubs under the name 'Fit U.' Judge James Whittemore granted YouFit a preliminary injunction, ordering the defendants to stop calling themselves Fit U." (Wall Street Journal Law blog)
The post the judge ruled was admissible was posted by Yelp member, "Scott R" who created an account in 2012 and only posted one review on 08/11/2012 (which remains on Yelp.) I find the review completely suspect, as it reads like a laundry list of complaints a competitor would make:
"I am soo confused. I was a member at Youfit in Az and when I moved back to cali I saw this place by my house and thought great my gym is here! When I went into the gym, I realized it was called Fit U. They use the same basic color scheme on their sign and the motto seemed the same. When I asked the girl at the desk, who was not nice, said her owner created this brand. I said what are you rates? Seemed very similar to me as when I was a member at Youfit. Very confusing and a big let down. I do not recommend."
Yelp has had its fair share of issues, but I still find it almost impossible to believe that any judge would take a suspicious, isolated Yelp "review" and allow it to be factored into his decision. Bet the affected business owners are wondering if there is a Yelp review site for judges.
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