Domino’s vs. YouTuber: The Internet’s Tastiest Battle

By: Bridget Clerkin May 30, 2018
A damaged Domino's DXP delivery car landed in the hands of a prominent YouTuber who is restoring the ride, and a franchisee with the company is none too happy about it.
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From nearly the time of its inception, the Internet has bred some bizarre battles—and even stranger bedfellows. But one of the communication platform’s oddest legal fights is getting hot enough to cook a pizza.

YouTuber Sam “Samcrac” (last name unknown) is engaging in an escalating back-and-forth with pizza behemoth Domino’s over the fate of one of their patented oven cars.

The Internet video star is famous for documenting his work restoring autos of all shapes and sizes. So when he saw a damaged Ultimate Pizza Delivery Vehicle appear at an auction in late 2017, he couldn’t resist taking a look.

The weird machines are technically referred to as Domino’s DXPs but are built off the platform for a Chevrolet Spark. Made exclusively for the pizza chain, the vehicles include delivery-friendly tweaks like a pizza warming oven in place of a trunk. The ride is also capable of carrying 80 pizzas at a time and projecting a Domino’s logo onto the ground.

Despite such dazzling details, Sam scooped up the damaged model for just $525—though it may end up costing him much more in the long run.

Almost immediately after posting the video where he introduced the car to his watchers and described his idea to restore it, the Internet star heard from a Domino’s franchise owner and former owner of the vehicle, challenging his right to post videos on the trademarked design. (The unique delivery models were never intended to be sold to the public—though it remains not-quite-known how that particular auto made it to auction.)

YouTube was apparently unmoved by the former owner’s plea and declined to remove the video in question. But that refusal only whetted the franchisee’s appetite for a fight.

A few months after YouTube declined to remove the video, Sam received a phone call asking him, in no uncertain terms, to “make [the car] back into a Chevy.” The request included stripping the vehicle of all Domino’s-themed colors and logos, as well as removing the oven.

The YouTube star countered with an offer to partner with the franchisee, using the car to deliver 80 free pizzas to an elementary school and homeless shelter, among other promotions, and posting the feats on his video page. And while it seemed there was potential for an agreement at first, the collaboration has since been put on ice.

Changing his tune, the Domino’s owner offered Sam $10,000 for the car straight up, with the intention of crushing it. Sam refused, saying he was receiving bids of up to $90,000 on the open market and wouldn’t sell for less than that.

But instead of a counteroffer, he was served a cease and desist order, kicking off the first official step of the already-messy situation.

And the fight for the ultimate delivery machine is far from over.

Legal experts say the franchisee has a case, as the car is still sporting its official Domino’s livery. But it’s unclear whether the corporation has the legal right to demand the private citizen sell the auto. 

It seems the vehicle’s ultimate fate will now be left up to a judge—and it’s going to take much longer than 30 minutes for justice to be delivered.

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