Home / Auto News / News article: Mr. Lube Says “I Don’t” to Ms. Lube - AutoGuide.com News
 |  May 25 2010, 7:22 AM

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The battle of the sexes heats up as Mr. Lube takes Ms. Lube to court for trademark infringement.

The well-know automotive repair chain alleges that the new mechanic in town – Toronto, Ontario to be exact – is using its name to create a suggestive play on words that is designed to attract customers away from Mr. Lube.

Officially known as Ms. Lube by Mechanchik, the all-woman car repair shop was founded by 37-year-old Jessica Gilbank. She appeared on the Canadian TV show “Dragon’s Den,” where participants present business plans in the hopes of attracting investors and start-up money. Interestingly enough, one of the judges was the co-owner of Mr. Lube. He didn’t hand over money, just a warning about impending trouble. Three months later, Gilbank was presented with a lawsuit for $240,000 from Mr. Lube.

Gilbank says the lawsuit is just an attempt by Mr. Lube to bully her out of business by bankrupting her with legal costs. “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,” she said.

The idea of Ms. Lube came to Gilbank when she noticed that female apprentices find it almost impossible to break into the male-dominated world of car repair.

“I thought it would be nice to create sort of an incubator situation where the environment was about mechanics and not about gender dynamics,” she said. “In the automotive environment, guys tend to be real jokers who play practical jokes on each other and goof off. You are surrounded by this bubble of goofiness. Women want to read the instructions and do the job thoroughly and right.”

Do you think it’s a rip-off of a well-known trademark name or an attempt to keep a good woman down? Leave your comments below.

[Source: The Globe and Mail]

  • Chad

    It is trademark infringement. Just use a different name and stop pulling sexism card.

  • Robin

    They don’t even have directly competing business models. Obviously the name was ripped off to get attention.

  • Dave

    I think it’s ironic that a red-flag is being raised about sexism, when the image accompanying the logo (and in fact, the name itself) is using sex-appeal to get attention.

  • Sam

    I guess Mr Lube will be suing Jiffy Lube, Quick Lube, Mr Quick Lube…

  • Don

    Ideas, Goofy mechanics and lovely ladies aside, the fact is you are guily of infringement if a judge finds that any reasonable person would assume by the name alone that the two businesses are related and therefore Ms Lube is using the Mr Lube brand to profit from it. I would have to agree that the names are so close that one might assume them to be the same company and therefore if I were the judge I would find for Mr. Lube. Even the font on the shirts they wore matched Mr Lubes logo. In a recent case involving a suit between “Victoria Secret” and a guy selling errotic clothing and sex toys under the name “Victor’s Little Secret”, the judge found that it was reasonable that people would associate the two names, Vicoria Secret claimed the sex toys hurt their clean reputation, Victor had to pay millions in damages and was bankrupt… Had the girls used a different name, I would bet Jim would have bought them out or invested. IE: “Lube & filter by Mechanchick” assuming it is not used already…

  • Barry

    Ladies, this is gonna hurt.
    The mechanchick brand is going to get hurt bad in this one b/c of Gilbank, and any good she’s trying to bring to women mechanics will be lost because she was too lazy to comeup with her own name. She had a good story but the name tells a different one than her own.

  • Les

    I fully agree with Ms. Gilbank about how women are being treated in the automotive trade. Being a licensed mechanic and having been a manager in big dealerships I know how even the young men are treated with the old saying that they have to pay their dues. Well look what we have for techs now.
    When you go shopping for auto parts do you get mixed up with Napa,CTC or Car quest? I don’t think so. So why would Mr. Treliving worry so much about a name that is clearly different than his? Greed I guess.

  • R.D.

    I only have one comment or question, if you wish. Lawsuit aside, I wantd to approach her comment on sexism. I know she is trying to get the idea across of an all female shop, and cudos for that. I am all for anyone trying to get a passion or idea going to better themselves or others. However, if a fully qualified male who couldn’t be hired by other shops in the area due to full positions came to her shop and she had an advertised opening, would she hire him? If the answer is yes, then I guess the sexism card could be thrown out. If no, then we could possibly assume that her comment was made to throw out the sexism card. I will however have to agree with the comment that her logo ad does attract the wrong idea, if she wants sexism out of the picture. She could’ve just put the name out there without the attractive lady mechanic picture. And also the claim that there could be trouble with a judge on the similarities of the shops names and infringement code.

  • James

    I just watched the episode of dragons den. All i have to say that old man is greedy. About Mr. Lube, why don’t you focus on hiring skilled people that care about their job. I took my father in-laws van to my mechanic and he asked where did he get his oil changed? at Mr. Lube and this was the fifth vehicle that he had in his shop with a loose filter and drain plugs, that used Mr. Lube. I don’t trust quick oil change places, i wouldn’t let them change the oil in my lawn mower. Drop the lawsuit you have enough money.

  • Deanna

    I think Gilbank should just change the name or she’ll be closing up shop soon!! If I saw Ms. Lube I would assume it was part of Mr. Lube, but with all women staff!! Gilbank should of thought things through before she went on Dragons Den and screwed herself over. I’m really surprised someone didn’t mention something to her about the company name being an issue.Stop pulling the sexist card and being greedy – change the name or close up shop hunni!!!!

  • Mike G

    I am praying to get on Dragon’s Den and have so far been unsuccessful. The fact that a business owner (regardless of sex) was lucky enough to get on while being stupid enough to pitch the name Ms. Lube in front of the guy who owns Mr. Lube makes me want to pull my hair out! She is a complete moron. If I remember correctly she actually said, “…you will like this Jim” just before announcing the company name. Additionally there is nothing proprietary about her concept and I hope Mr. Treliving takes it and runs! Arlene Dickenson has a great quote, “Don’t get caught up in being a woman in business, get caught up in being in business”

  • sjoyce

    “I thought it would be nice to create sort of an incubator situation where the environment was about mechanics and not about gender”

    Nice quote from a shop of only one gender…. Think befor you speak.

  • connor

    it was obviously trademark infringement. there is no way anyone could deny it, the diference in the names is only the letter “s”. there was no common sense in the choice of name. she practicly put on a sign that says i’m an unimaginative feminist, give me money. then she pulls the sexism card, no the law suit wasn’t sexism, nor was denying her on the dragon’s den. the very fact he denied her on TDD was good thinking. why support a competitor, when you can just open up more of your own? it wasn’t sexist she was just dumb. there is noting wrong with feminism, but when you try to use it as a weapon to get what you don’t deserve then there is something wrong. ladies go out there and express your selves but don’t go and bitch at everyone if you don’t get what you want. if i got everything i wanted i would own the world and be currently nuking north korea and afganistan.

  • A.OGRE

    I think she was using the DDen to promote her business, not get funding for an IDEA.

    She showed her flaws in admitting she doesnt make enough to pay herself, playing the gender-card to JIM (who is only trying to protect his investment in MR Lube) and continuing with the MS LUBE brand and spending the money on lawyers rather then corrective branding.

    The last time I went to JIFFY LUBE I was ripped off and left a quart low. A prior time they overfilled my transmission and told me to drive it off.

    I dont trust any of them!

    HARRUMPH!

  • james

    is jim going to sue me too if i say the word lube instead of oil

  • C Roach

    Ms Gilbank was warned in 2009 that she would be sued for infringment on the name Mr. Lube. I love the idea of her shop and would happily go there now that I know about it. However, if I had not seen the Dragon’s Den I would certainly have believed that her shop was an innovative idea created by Mr. Lube in order to broaden it’s customer base. And I would have trusted it based on my positive experiences with Mr. Lube. Playing “who has the best lawyers” with very wealthy corporations is a fool’s game. Unless she wins, which is never a certainty, she will not only sustain damages but will be paying all of her lawyer’s costs plus a
    good portion of the many lawyers who are being funded by Mr. Lube to overwhelm her with paperwork.

    It is difficult to believe this woman has degrees in business and politics with experience in communications. If I were her, I would have immediately changed my name to LUBE CHICKS with the same sexy logo. I would immediately have advised Mr. Lube that I had done so. As it is, she is doing nothing to mitigate damages and I expect that is due to the same “not very smart in some areas” that Arlene referred to when explaining why she was no longer interested in investing.

    If she goes bankrupt where are all her apprentices and employees going to go? I think she has some responsibility to them.

    All that being said, we will try her shop next lube job and hope that the money we pay her does not land up in some lawyer’s pocket.

  • Renee

    I think some of you really need to sit back and see how ridiculous the whole law suit is… It’s plain as day what’s happening.

    Ms.Lube was a guest on “The Dragons Den” and got publicity… Being part of the show Mr.Lube got embarrassed and went on a power trip and decided to throw his weight around to publicly make Ms. Lube an example…
    It’s all so medieval and unnecessary… Where’s the Jiffy Lube law suit? According you some of you, you seem to think that despite the logo and appearanceof “MS.Lube” if the word “lube” is used in a name it must be tied into the Mr.Lube empire of auto mechanic rip-offs…
    Yeah, come to think of it “Jiffy Lube” could be mistaken for an innovative idea from Mr.Lube… Come on people a name’s a name… “Ms. Lube, by Mechanchick” has no indication of having any association to Mr.Lube. When I first saw it I laughed – I thought it was clever… Which I’m pretty sure it was meant to be…
    I have not met one person that legitimately thought that there was any association between the two, or that Ms.Lube was trying to hang off Mr.Lubes coattails…

    Like the rest of us, Ms.Lube is trying to make a buck while giving quality service in a questionable field… (Imagine that- quality service from an auto shop!) If anything, Ms. Lube is bringing integrity back to auto mechanics something that has been missing from the field for a very long time…

    It was an unfair fight. Forget a battle of the sexes… It’s just proof that the little guys keep getting shut down by the big guys…

  • mike Lh

    Its ironic that she is playing the sexism card to divert attention from the fact she is profiting from the Mr. Lube brand. How sexist of HER to put a scantily clad women as a part of her logo, how sexist of her to claim that all the male mechanics “play practical jokes all the time” and are unprofessional and untrustworthy according to her. Now that she has been sued she insists that the actualy name of her business is actuall a much longer name, but in reality when she was on dragons den they were ALL wearing “MS. LUBE” t-shirts with the same EXACT font and style used as in the MR LUBE logo, and she even acknowledged that it was a rip off but sarcastically saying to jim “oh you’r gonna LOVE this” , but jim just like everyone of the other dragons is a serious but fair business man and he wasn’t laughing, neither did the other dragons. This lady is disingenuous and an opportunist, as displayed by the absurdity of the deal she proposed. She wanted the dragons to put up all the cash for a tiny fraction of the UN-OPENED location. To clarify , this greedy person that she is was going to keep 100 percent of the business that is open already to herself, and in all her generous glory kindly allow the investors a 35% stake in a new location that they would have to build themselves from scratch with a $HALF-MILLION Dollar investment but they would have to invest 100% of the costs and take 100% of the risk. All she would have to do is allow them to use the logo that she ripped off and sit back and collect her 65% right off the top. She says her idea to open a second location is a 1.5 million dollar business and that’s all it is a “thought” in her head. Its absolutely disgusting that she is pulling out the sexism card because of her disingenuous claim of sexism she is potentially compromising the actual legitimate cases of sexism that unfortunately exist in our world and where women DO have a legitimate concern with. She is absolutely a fraud, just like her absurd offer on dragons den was , she is there to make a buck and she does it by exploiting the stereotypes in the auto repair business and by exploiting MR Lube’s brand and by exploiting womens issues and exploiting women by fear mongering and claiming that they will get ripped off unless they go only to THEIR shop, and ALL the other shops are sexist, unprofessional and crooks. In my oppinion , THEY are the real crooks.

  • Laura

    As USUAL, the two-faced hypocrisy of women never ceases to amaze me. As others have noted, Ms. Gilbank blathers on and on about male chauvinism and machismo, and YET what does she use for her logo??? Not something that appeals to women, (as she claimed on Dragon’s Den is her target customer), but rather the old big-busted, over-sexed female that only men would be attracted to. Seriously. Does that logo REALLY appeal to women? No! She’s trying to go after the male market. Ms. Gilbank is using the old sexism card to try to gain sympathy, when, in fact, she’s really only playing the victim card, when she should have known better in the first place. As a female, I’m completely fed up with women who are as two-faced as Ms. Gilbank.

  • candice johnson

    I think it’s funny that in one breath she both claims she wants get rid of the gender dynamics and then refers to men as jokers who are in a bubble of goofiness and women as people who want to do the job right. Decide if you’re really about removing gender stereotypes or if you’re a man-hating woman who thinks you’re entitled to steal from others because you’re a woman and that no one can tell you otherwise, or else they’re sexist!

    “I thought it would be nice to create sort of an incubator situation where the environment was about mechanics and not about gender dynamics,” she said. “In the automotive environment, guys tend to be real jokers who play practical jokes on each other and goof off. You are surrounded by this bubble of goofiness. Women want to read the instructions and do the job thoroughly and right.”

  • MZ.MECHANIX!!!!!

    I understand both sides and everyone’s comments. BUT until YOU are a female and see what it is REALLY like for other females in ANY “male” dominated trade you WILL NOT understand. I am a 23 year old female apprentice at an automotive shop. (that will remain nameless!) It took me over 6 months to get this job with min salary and hrs! (and that is with college) I work on a daily basis with a male mechanic who believes I should NOT be in this industry at all!!! It is nto easy at all. I hardly learn anything, I have to learn from another more experienced apprentice at the same shop. Mz.Mechanix has been my nick name since high school given to me by my automotive teacher. Ms.Lube is justr a catchy name. A comment I read on here said something baout will Mr.lube be suing jiffy lube, quick lube , etc….. all other shops with lube name. MEN will not admit it but it is sexism, you wouldn’t understand because you probably are yourself, im not trying to be rude. I do all types of repairs at my job, not just oil changes. But I do agree with another comment ive read abotu Mr.Lube. filters and drain plugs being loose and even over tighted! We have come across too many at the shop I work at. its FINE by me and my co-workers! keep it up Mr.lube more business for us!!! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!1 Reading some of these comments made me laugh and I just had to share my experience being a FEMALE in the AUTOMOTIVE industry!

    THANK YOU!

  • Eggman

    This woman is the typical feminist stereotype. You can’t blatantly copy an existing trademark and then claim bullying tactics if you get sued. You’re using a play on the existing name, to generate business for yourself, in other words, you owe the original trademark something at least. Not that I would ever have taken my business to you, considering your shitty feminist attitude.

  • Eggman

    This woman is the typical feminist stereotype. You can’t blatantly copy an existing trademark and then claim bullying tactics if you get sued. You’re using a play on the existing name, to generate business for yourself, in other words, you owe the original trademark something at least. Not that I would ever have taken my business to you, considering your shitty feminist attitude.

  • GuyverXT9

    Not the case Renee. Ms Lube was trying to garner business by playing on an existing brand, without the brand permission. Same way Coke would crap themselves if I were to put out a drink with the same flavour, and name it Koce. You might not have met one person who thought that there is an association between the two, but you are probably also aware that people tend to move in circles that share the same opinion. How Ms Lube is supposedly bringing integrity back to auto mechanics is beyond me.

  • Venus Doom

    Did you look at the same Ms.Lube logo?? I mean “big busted”, “over-sexed”, “SCANTILY dressed”?! Seriously??

    The woman in the pic is like a B in cup size, with a sweet non-suggestive smile and covered top-to-toe in some mechsnics overalls! As a woman, I don’t find anything offencive about that. Despite my heterosexual orientation, I quite like the pic!
    As a beautiful woman, I on the other hand find visits to the all-male car repair shops uncomfortable. I have met leering beyond words (I mean, do these guys get to go out at all?? Or do they just spend all their time under a car, rather than a woman. Some look at you like they’ve been in prison for the last 10 years.), talking to me like I was retarded (no wonder they spend time with cars, if they had any social skills, I guess they’d have women AND another kind of career orientation) or they assume that since I’m a woman, I’m not supposed to be told any follow-up instructions after some repair work. I probably wouldn’t understand, am only interested in filing my nails, or have a MAN to take care of that, right?
    Well, the car in MY property, so it’s MY business.
    I actually have googled for female-oriented mechanics in my area, because I hate giving my money to these wrench-monkeys. So A GREAT business-idea indeed!!
    Shame about the name-battle…
    These unnecessary actions against women always show the true size of the…wrench.

  • Chloe

    The issue isn’t her business model, it’s the NAME she chose..  look at the t-shirts they wore on Dragon’s Den, she knew exactly what she thought picking that business name would do for her!! 

    okay concept, but pick a different name.  that’s all. 

  • Semaj23

    He should have just partnered with her and leveraged his brand to dominate the market.

  • Andrew

    Why would he partner with her? He would be contributing his expertise, his company’s brand, and a lot of his money in return for a fraction of a company. Instead he decided to sue her for 250,000 dollars, and now if he wants he can invest that money to create a company of which he would own 100%.

    Not to mention why would someone want to partner with her if she can’t understand the concept of copyright infringement, not even when all the Dragon’s on Dragon’s Den were clearly warning her.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1341905650 Chris Hill

    It’s so stupid.  I’m gonna create a company called “Quicky Lube,” and when Jiffy Lube sues me into the stone age I’ll just do the whiny feminazi thing and accuse them of being chauvinists who want to dominate the industry… all because changing my branding will be too much work.  How dare these chicks?  They’re OBVIOUSLY building on top of Mr. Lube’s success… it’s so stupid.

  • Rcsb1329

    The idea of an all female mechanic shop is a good idea. However, she delibrately chose that name to confuse consumers into thinking it was a Mr. Lube shop. thats the issue, not some sexist agenda. Had she chose another name, there would be no issue. Also, to say ALL garages are full of practical jokes and bad language is generalizing and is in it self wrong. Ive been to garages that are very professional, because they have to be. I want to know what her motive is for using a pinup girl style sign.

  • Arctic_F0X

    If Mr. Lube is worth its weight in “liquid” gold, then I see no reason why he should bother to sue MZ Lube. I don’t see Mz Lube getting to be a major competitor.  Maybe Mr. Lube is not that great… hence the worry. I had one bad experience  with one of those “lube mostly” places .. No more.

  • sykes

    Hi I’m going to do abuse someones trademark and if they do something about it they are sexists.

  • Liz

    Jim is a stuck up did who went after the lawsuit.  Maybe he should take care of his own business and stop letting these dumbos wreck peoples engines, trannys etc.  I hope this doesn’t scare the ladies and they can have Ms. Lube just like there is a home depot, home sense etc.  No one ones the variation that is rediculous!!!!  Good luck girls!

  • yay to ms.lube

    Then Jimbo should stop thinking he owns the name cause he put a mister infront of it first.  She can put a “ms” if she wants imo and I would go to her before Mr.Lube the incompetant retards….Rycor holdings ltd. in edmonton is the worst and will wreck your car!  they wrecked my engine and got away with it, I’m sure the ladies can do their job and joke around later.

  • mr lube bully

    I hope the public sees how rude this corporate bully is and stops going to Mr. Lube and goes to other shops including hers. 

    I support you Ms. Gibank!  Good luck and sue him back for more!

  • Stephan Van der Merwe

    Corporate bully? She was trying to use the Mr Lube brand, to promote her own. How is that corporate bullying? She tried leeching of a well known trademark.

  • Tbarington

    Isn’t it sexist to only hire women?

  • malcom

    I have two bestfriends that are mechanics both married with hot wives & two kids. Do mechanics only go under cars & not woman. Evidence i just pointed out would say yes. Come down off that high horse & don’t flatter yourself. They were prob staring at clock behind you.

  • Thebarbinator

    I don’t believe it was male bullying or any sort of sexist agenda.  I do believe the name Ms. Lube was used on purpose to be very similar to Mr. Lube.  The question is:  was it really a copyright infringement?  Is Jim just trying to legally cripple her because it isn’t infringement?  Many questions… my biggest question would be:  Why would Ms Lube go on Dragon’s Den and draw attention to her business knowing she was pushing the limits of the copyright rules? She was a small enough business to go unnoticed by the big giant Mr. Lube…

  • Stephan Van der Merwe

    Agreed. By labelling this as a sexist agenda only further cheapens the feminist cause in favour of making a quick buck.

  • mickey

    trouble with mr. lube is that less than 10% of its franchised shops actually provides performance which exceed or just even meet the expectation from consumers, not anyone out there who attempted to copy the name and try draw attention from cusumers of
    the original.

  • Jeffrey Griffith

    All she had to do was name her business “Ms Mechanchik” or just “Mechanchicks”. Why didn’t she do that? She was obviously trying to connect her business, in the consumer’s mind, to an existing business.

  • http://www.wtf.me.pn/ rewwssfgg

    Mr Lube isn’t a repair shop. They do oil changes they’re not mechanics..

  • Kitana

    I think Gilbank made a big mistake by using such a similar name. It was obvioiusly intentional since Mr. Lube already carries a household name and reputation so by using that name Gilbank would already be recognized. I believe that was her hope and building off of someone else’s success is not right!

  • Lawrence

    Under the Law you cannot just hire one gender in a mechanical shop, have to take hire all types of peoples based on skill and qualifications. To not discriminate based on gender,race or sexual preference. Must be diverse as is our country Canada, wrong approach to business modelling and branding. With so man y names out there why choose Ms. Lube

  • Jeff Williams

    Of course its a rip off I would think that it is the same chain with a branding twist Mr Lube, MS Lube… Yeah same owners just on part of the chain is geared to women. It was totally stupid to think you could get away with this! Common sense at its finest (NOT). And the

  • Jefffery Williams

    You are wrong. Its infringement. You really should have a clue before posting is just makes you look stupid Look there is nothing wrong with them being in business, except its sexist to hire only woman; but I don’t care about that… have at it… But don’t steal another companies name and appear to be a part of their brand. Come up with your own unique name and compete..