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Contestant Gets Sued By Shark

 Mr. Lube Sues Ms. Lube

Shark Gets Revenge After Trademark Infringement on Show
Mr Lube sues Ms Lube
I ran across an episode from Season 4 of the Dragons Den that is a classic example of what Not To Do when it comes to negotiating a deal with a Dragon or any Shark from the Shark Tank Show for that matter. The contestant just started an Auto Mechanic Shop Ms. Lube, a new auto repair shop run by an all female crew under the Mechanchik name. Hm, personally I like the Mechanchik name better then Ms Lube, which does no limit your customer's perception on the services you provide while still conveying the same message.

Jessica Gilbert entered the Dragons Den proud of her brand new All Female Auto Repair Center she named Ms. Lube.Immediately the Sharks notice a striking similarity between Jessica's business name and the Mr. Lube Brand that happens to be owned by non other then Jim Treliving,the Shark Investor sitting next to Kevin O'Leary. Without batting an eye Kevin asks"are you going to sue these people right away"? Jim looking completely stunned and visually upset at what he was looking at, immediately replies "Right Away".

Obviously this was not rehearsed fake reality t.v. on Jim's face when he was starring right at a major potential business liability for his already established 100+ Mr. Lube Auto Center's. A Brand he has built from the ground up and now he is being filmed on the Dragons Dens while his female counter-part sees nothing wrong with the similarities in the names. She then targets him on the show to invest in her version of the new company.

I could only imagine the producers moved Ms Lube to the front of the line and made sure she got a spot on Dragons Den. If for nothing else the "shock value" which was clearly priceless. Gilbert stood strong in her belief that there was nothing wrong in changing one letter in the Mr Lube Brand and then hired all females instead of mostly male run business. Forget that it also happens to be within the same Industry that would naturally be competing for the same customers, this was Ms. Lube, not Mr. Lube. Needless to say, none of the Sharks showed any interest investing into Jessica's new business plan when one of the other Sharks on the panel was threatening a lawsuit during the taping of the Show.

Ms. Lube Gets Sued by Mr. Lube

True to his word Jim Treliving wastes no time getting a hold of his Lawyer's and immediately sets out to shut down a business that he was not particularly fond of dealing with on the Dragons Den. I could only imagine Jim was not very happy with the producers as well, but, as they say in the business, "That's Show Business".

Even though Jessica Gilbank was being threatened with a lawsuit from a very wealthy Shark for trademark infringement, she still did not see anything wrong with her decision. Naming the New Business Ms. Lube instead of the better name Mechanchick, never seemed to be an option.

Within 3 months, Ms.Lube was officially sued for $240,000.00 but still held on to her belief that she was not doing anything wrong. Jessica instead took the defensive position by stating "It is very representative of the machismo and the male chauvinism that exists in the trade, that they would want to do this to the very first all-female shop”. It was not the business name infringing on the Mr. Lube Brand; instead it was now turning into a gender war between the two now very similar Auto Care Centers.

However you wish to spin it, in my eyes it was a clear violation of Trademark Infringement that clearly was trying to capitalise on a similar business with a similar business name. It's nothing short of opening up a hamburger stand across from Mc Donald's and naming your business Mac Donald's that sells the BG Mac.

However Gilbank rationalised this new business plan in how she was going to go up against a Giant in the industry, in the end she did have to close the auto repair shop.

A Very Interesting Story from the Dragons Den that would/should apply world wide along with something to think about when you are first visualising your next business venture. Had Jessica decided to go on the show and represent her new All Female Auto Care Shop (which does sound like a good idea that could carve out a nice niche in a multi-billion dollar market) as MechanChik instead of Ms Lube, I most likely would be writing a very good success story about this creative business model.
Instead, the Canadian Shark Jim Treliving had very little trouble proving his case and forced Ms Lube to shut down and ultimately go out of business.


  1. Trademark Infringement was just an exuce for another MALE CORPORATE FAT CAT to squeeze a woman out of what they call a mans business.Just because a woman can & does a better job then a Man in any business, You men are just sore losers. Trade Infringement = WA WA WA baby needs there million dollar bottle. Jim you as big a baby as (gimme gimme mine mine mine) uts Keven.

    1. lol, quite comment Erika!

    2. That... Has absolutely nothing to do with a NAME INFRINGEMENT. 100% that if it was a male, the same thing would have happened, except the males wouldn't go crying everywhere about "sexism waaaah, chauvinistic pigs, waaaah." Puh-lease. Women like you make it hard for others like me to get taken seriously when that's where your argument runs to first.

    3. Anonymous1:21 PM

      I don't get why she just didn't use another name because obviously she knew about mr.lube. Why not just stick to mechanchick

    4. Anonymous6:57 AM

      She chose the name Ms. Lube to trick customers into think it was part of the Mr Lube franchise therefore establishing credibility when in reality she hasn't even been open 6 months.

    5. Anonymous3:53 PM

      You're something else. As a woman you make us women look stupid.

    6. Erika, check this out

    7. Erika is Right. Gotta destroy small businesses. :)

    8. She was deaqd wrong

  2. Anonymous11:27 AM

    Shut up; wrong is wrong is wrong; male/female, there are laws already set in place to decide what's right & what's wrong; He let the law speak and was found right; had nothing to do with what was between their legs!

  3. Anonymous11:55 AM

    That'll be the last time I go to Mr.Lube. Not that I care about Ms.Lube. These big companies are so greedy and they have the power to push around the little guys. As if Ms.Lube costed Mr. Lube any damage, give me a break.

    As consumers we have the power to not buy product. I encourage everyone to use an alternate company.

    1. Anonymous7:50 PM

      Maybe if she wouldn't have pointed her finger and pointed straight at Jim and said, "we're looking right at YOU Jim..." it might not have been a problem. But she had to go and open her trap and say..."Look what I can do!!!" She deserved what she got. I'm a woman damning another for being "naughty".

    2. Anonymous12:43 PM

      You do realize he's legally obligated to defend his trademark or he risks losing

    3. Anonymous5:15 AM

      This isn't about greed, this is about being legally obliged to defend your trademark.
      If he doesn't defend it this time, he can't defend it the next time someone else infringes the trademark.

      This has nothing to do with hating on women, this has to do with people trying to start a business while not having a clue about basic business practices and what not to do.

  4. Anonymous11:48 AM

    So Erika, let's say you started Ms. Starvoitova's Bakery and turned it into a successful location. So successful you have opened a few stores. Now I come along and open Mr. Stravoitova's Bakery and claim I am not trying to ride off your success. I am sure you would be on the phone with lawyers right away.

    It is obvious she was trying to free ride off the success of Mr. Lube. If not why didn't she keep the Mechanchix name?

  5. Anonymous2:52 AM

    What about Minute Lube? or Minute Muffler? Both share simlarities in name with Lube and with each other 'Minute' but they dont go sue each other? Its the same spin, ms, mr, same deal. He shouldnt be allowed to sue her unless he claimed the name domain of ms lube as well. It really should be treated the same way domains rights are online. she mightve known what she was doing when she chose the name, but it was smart. She didnt do anything wrong, except not get a good enough lawyer.

    1. Is it safe to assume you were Jessica Gilbert's lawyer in her case, and this was your argument?

  6. Funny how i cannot find any evidence outside of this post online nor videos that relate to whats happening here i would like video leads