Can We Send A Moron In A Hurry With A Mini Golf Club Over To Monster Cable?

from the monster-monster-monster-monster-monster dept

The company Monster Cable has a rather infamous reputation for way too aggressively trying to enforce its trademark on the word "monster." It's sued or threatened just about everyone, including the TV show Monster Garage, a clothing store called MonsterVintage, Disney for the movie Monsters, Inc., the makers of Monster Energy drink, the Chicago Bears for having the nickname "Monsters of the Midway," and the Boston Red Sox for offering "Monster seats" on top of their famous "Green Monster" wall. The latest, sent in by reader Ben S., is that the target is now Monster Mini Golf in California.

Now, because this always comes up in the comments on posts like this, let's address the key point that people always bring up, claiming that Monster "has to" enforce its trademark or face the mark becoming generic (like aspirin, kleenex or band-aids). That's not quite true. It is true that you have to enforce the mark -- but only in cases where it's likely to confuse people or dilute your mark in the area it's designed for. A trademark does not give you total control over the word. It is not designed as a "property right" but really as a consumer protection statute, to prevent people from getting confused and believing that one company or product is sponsoring another. That's why we have the lovely "moron in a hurry" test. If a moron in a hurry wouldn't be confused, then there's no violation. And I have a hard time believing that any moron (even one in a hurry) would see a mini-golf course and assume that it's associated with the company that makes ridiculously expensive tv cables.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    John Duncan Yoyo, May 16th, 2008 @ 7:16pm

    Universal should sue

    Given the Universal classic Movie Monsters predate the Monster cable cabal by quite a few years they should sue the wiry interlopers.

     

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    Jake, May 16th, 2008 @ 7:20pm

    It occurs to me that anyone who willingly pays extra for the brand name on their frigging SCART lead is pretty much guaranteed to be dumb enough to make that mistake.

     

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    Anonymous Poster, May 16th, 2008 @ 7:28pm

    As if they weren't a shitty enough company for overpricing their cables as much as they do...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2008 @ 7:51pm

    Let it go to court

    And get that one fellow who "rather misses" litigation as your lawyer.

    I still have his response to Monster saved on my computer. Classic!

     

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      Tack Furlo, May 17th, 2008 @ 11:50pm

      Re: Let it go to court

      I actually bought a $19 DVI cable from him (his company is called Blue Jean Cable) solely in an effort to support his fight against Monster Cable. I needed another DVI cable kinda like I need an additional hole in my head but as luck would have it one of my coworkers has a G4 MacBook Pro and his screen has now developed over 80 vertical lines of dead pixels (and counting) so he went and bought a cheap ($149 I think) LCD monitor from Target that was on closeout. The reason? It had no power or VGA/DVI cable, so now he has a cable for it.

      As the saying goes, the Lord works in mysterious ways. I suppose if I was religious I would've affirmed my faith but for now I'll just have to settle for "net gain of Karma" I suppose.

       

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    Chunky Vomit, May 16th, 2008 @ 7:59pm

    Maybe it depends on if that moron in a hurry is a lawyer who stands to make millions on winning a case?

     

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    Jeffry Houser (profile), May 16th, 2008 @ 8:02pm

    Don't forget Monster.com

    Don't forget about Monster.com the technical recruiting site, which in it's footer has a link to "monster cable".

     

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    wasnt me, May 16th, 2008 @ 8:03pm

    how about monster.com the recruitment site? (http://www.monster.com/geo/siteselection.asp)

     

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    Moron in a hurry, May 16th, 2008 @ 8:04pm

    Hey, I have a trademark on that name !
    See you in court.

     

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    buckminster futt, May 16th, 2008 @ 8:30pm

    oxygen free

    I heard they use oxygen free copper in their really expensive cable. Maybe they hired oxygen free lawyers who are now brain damaged. could this explain their irrational behavior?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2008 @ 8:58pm

    Times must be rough for monster cable profits.

     

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    Rob (profile), May 16th, 2008 @ 9:32pm

    Perhaps Moster...

    ... should worry more about making a cable with distinguishable audio quality vs. a coat hanger, and less about a word they didn't invent, weren't the first to use, and won't be the last to claim.

     

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    jeffrey, May 16th, 2008 @ 9:33pm

    So can I

    So can I sue MGM for defamation of character after the movie jeffrey http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113464/

     

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    nate, May 16th, 2008 @ 9:51pm

    How about Comcast or Cox CABLE suing Monster CABLE for name infringement? What a horrible company. And if you know anything about electronics, their cables do NOT produce the results that they claim. http://www.custompcmax.com

     

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    Vincent Clement, May 16th, 2008 @ 10:06pm

    How does Monster Cable stay in business? Seriously, who overpays for their overrated cables, power supplies and etc?

     

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    Elohssa, May 16th, 2008 @ 10:09pm

    Wait!

    Doesn't Jack in the Box have a Monster Taco?

    Oh.

    Sorry, Jack.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2008 @ 12:40am

    Except actually reading the article, it is not the cables that they seek to avoid confusion with. Apparently, the Cable company has tried to trademark every variation of the use of "monster" including a park. It is the similarity to "monster park" which they are claiming the confusion with.
    Now the question needs to be, does Monster Cable just trademark names with the work "monster" in it, or do they actually USE these trademarked names. Is there really a physical monster park?

     

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    cephyn, May 17th, 2008 @ 12:45am

    well, just maybe...

    In a world where corporate sponsorship is becoming increasingly common, a moron in a hurry might believe the mini golf park was sponsored by monster cables, and if he had a bad experience there, he might choose not to buy them. remember, he's a moron. if he went to at&t park and the giants lose, he might swear off phones too.

    the lines are getting blurred.

     

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    Lucretious, May 17th, 2008 @ 2:17am

    enjoying my perfect working $10 component cable on my 360 thank you very much.....

     

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    Non-golfer, May 17th, 2008 @ 3:59am

    Why would Monster Cable need a moron to hurry over?

    Seems to me they already have a surplus of morons there, whether with or without golf clubs I dunno...

     

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    Rikard, May 17th, 2008 @ 5:53am

    Some kind of monster

    I'm in a hurry and don't really have the time to comment, but shouldn't they team up with Metallica?

    They could share the "monter" epithet, and team up suing everybody.

    Gotta rush on to the Morons' convent now...

     

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    Joe, May 17th, 2008 @ 5:54am

    Obligitory Monster Definition

    From Wikipedia:
    MONSTER-
    A person referred to as a monster is taken as exceptionally evil, grotesque, unreasonably strict and uncaring, sociopathic, and/or sadistic. The word monster connotes something wrong/evil; e.g.: a monstruous being is: very morally objectionable, physically or psychologically hideous, or a biological sport (a distinct sense of the word), i.e a freak of nature.

    ...Sounds like Monster Cable to me!

     

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    jon, May 17th, 2008 @ 6:56am

    boo on monster cable

    this is so rediculous. i didnt know these people at monster were such morons. i wont be buying their products ever again, im not going to support a company that acts this retarded.

     

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    Quantum John, May 17th, 2008 @ 7:24am

    Perfectly rational

    Advertising is expensive. Since you usually don't have to pay punitive damages for suing someone as long as you have a remotely justifiable legal premise, suing someone is cheap. The more absurd your suit, the more attention it gets. Hence, you can build your name recognition at a much lower cost by getting a trademark and suing for the most tenuous supposed infringements. Much less expensive than advertising, and it supports the poor legal industry, which suffers from already-too-many-lawyers-and-increasing-every-day syndrome.

     

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    smart enough to not buy monster cables, May 17th, 2008 @ 7:39am

    everyone is sue happy

    If monster cable is hurting bad enough to sue (which in my opinion hurts their reputation more than helps it) maybe they should raise their prices.

    Or maybe just maybe lower them enough so more people will buy their cable and they can make up for the lower price in higher volume.

     

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    Overcast, May 17th, 2008 @ 8:38am

    They should sue the copyright holders of old 'Monster' movies too.

    Pathetic - I'll keep this in mind when I buy cables. They are more hype than anything. Component video - using cheap cables - works just as well as my HDMI connection on my TV - if not better.

    Actually the HDMI got some 'stutters' in the sound - the component audio/video does not. And the 5 dollar cables work perfectly.

     

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    Chipsg, May 17th, 2008 @ 9:47am

    confused - at first

    I read the headline and I could not believe what I read. Then I started reading the threads and still could not believe it. To me, the headline read as follows,"Can we send a mormon in a hurry with a mini.....". Why would you single out mormons and what the hell do they have to do with monster cables????

    Finally I realized it read "moron" and not "mormon". I guess I must belong to the first group.

     

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    Mike, May 17th, 2008 @ 9:52am

    Thanks

    I honestly was not aware of ALL of these actions by the company, I'm comfortable with NEVER buying Monster cables again. This crap needs to stop, and wont' stop until we hit them where it hurts, the pocket book.

     

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    ira Levine, May 17th, 2008 @ 11:25am

    comment on artical

    A quick check with the USPTO's trademark data base indicates that there are 2228, registrations and applications with the term MONSTER. That should keep a hurried lawyer busy.

     

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    MLS, May 17th, 2008 @ 12:50pm

    Oh My God!

    Mr. Masnick,

    We agree.

    While I am sure that many other practitioners would disagree, trademark law is all about "customer confusion", quite unlike the underlying bases for patent and copyright law. Trademarks, like trade secrets, do not fit in some nice cubbyhole entitled "property".

     

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    Economist, May 17th, 2008 @ 1:23pm

    Moron in a hurry

    Does that describe their customers?

     

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    Nicholas Iler, May 17th, 2008 @ 1:39pm

    Did they patent the word Monster?

    They seem a bit ridiculous for chasing every use of the word "Monster" in marketing. I could understand if the use where "Monster Cable Rides" or "Monster Cable Garage" or even "MonsterVintage Cables."

    The word is used to show strength of something. You would see Monster Rides as being a whole lot more fun than Bug Rides or Small Rides. Monster cables use the word Monster show their cables are great. I wonder if they where named Great Cables would they sue everyone that used Great in there names.

    They ought to focus on making quality cables and get real. Monster is a generic word and we should be free to use it in any context we see fit as long as it does not clearly sound as if it where related to an existing competing company. It is clear that "Monster Cables" and "Monster Mini Golf in California" are not related.

    I imagine the Board of Directors (BOD) have little on their plates and this may be a perfect example of table politics that go on in corporations with BODs. Most are not experienced in broad fields. Likely to be specialist in one or another. Possibly accounting degrees and psychology. Not economy and logic necessarily.

    Another idea is they may just be morons !-)

     

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    Lucretious, May 17th, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Legal Profession = Maggot Colony

     

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    Mikhail, May 17th, 2008 @ 2:46pm

    Blue Jean Cables Are Better

    http://www.bluejeanscable.com/ I believe is being sued by them as well.

     

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    uh huh, May 17th, 2008 @ 2:48pm

    Compensation

    As a electronics tech who has worked as a A/V installer I always thought Monster Cables were for persons who were trying to "compensate for something." After reading this article it would appear the owners of the company are also.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2008 @ 3:53pm

    I wonder how long before they will attempt to sue all games which have monsters in them? I mean the word "monster" IS in the word "monsters" and there many many games with the name monster in their title.

     

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    Adam, May 17th, 2008 @ 4:28pm

    This is so moronic its actually kinda sad really.

    And we don't need to worry about the "moron in a hurry" test they all appear to work for Monster Cable.

     

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    Johnny, May 17th, 2008 @ 6:35pm

    I Just called Monster Cable's Customer Service...

    I Just called Monster Cable's Customer Service... and asked if I get a free Hot Dog if I one-putt the 18th Hole. The lady didn't understand, so I then asked how much it costs to have my birthday party there, and if it be OK if I snuck in some beers.

    They were not amuzered.

    Monster Cable's Customer Service: 877 800-8989

     

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    Stuey, May 17th, 2008 @ 8:50pm

    Sue our kids too?

    Now they need to sue our kids for claiming there are monsters in their closets at night.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2008 @ 11:39pm

    what a "monster" farce

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2008 @ 11:51pm

    Monster Ripoff...

    I was attempting to find a decent deal on an digital audio optical cable today, went to Target... Sony 12' cable $19.99; Went to BestBuy... Monster 12' cable $79.99 WTF?!?!

    Went home, Amazon 12' digital optical cable... $4.99.

    Its nothing but freaking plastic, it doesn't need to be shielded, it doesn't need gold connectors (or any metal of any kind for that matter...) How the FCUK can you justify charging $79.99 for a FCUKing plastic cord?!?!

    If we send anyone to Monster with a mini-golf club they should be sent there to KICK SOME ASS and express my sense of moral outrage!

    /rant

     

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    Monsters, May 18th, 2008 @ 9:51am

    We are trying to sue them for years........

    This company took our name without paying royalty. They have also demonized us. We are trying to lodge a case against them without any success. Apparently you need to be a human to lodge a case in US courts.

    Can any of you humans sympathetic to us monsters help us???

     

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    freakengine, May 18th, 2008 @ 10:11am

    We'll Always Have Morons...

    ...who think that price indicates quality. Monster must have used Apple as a pricing structure model. There is a retail price sweet spot for most tech goods where the price point reassures the consumer about the quality and doesn't make him/her feel ripped off. Monster has steadily been pushing their prices up for years and the consumers have yet to cry foul by not buying! What is wrong with people?! Hell, at their current prices, Monster only has to sell a tenth of the quantities they once sold in order to make the same profits!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2008 @ 6:53pm

      Re: We'll Always Have Morons...

      Hey! Apple products ARE quality, and if you factor in the cost of the productivity suite vrs buying the equivalent programs for. And I've experenced more quality using Tiger then XP... though Lepord just sucks as much as Vista

       

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    Old butthurt lawyers, May 18th, 2008 @ 1:56pm

    We'll sue for anything, infringement or not!

     

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    Tokyo LIzard, May 18th, 2008 @ 2:44pm

    We here at Godzilla Wiring have decided to take a walk over to the Monster Corporate Offices. We notice that there are a few buildings in the way en route, but they shouldn't be much trouble to get through!

     

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    Dustin Moore, May 18th, 2008 @ 7:59pm

    Monstershit

    Aside from being overpriced, when I was in the home theater business I had to deal with constantly replacing their shitty cables due to bad solder connections on the ends of the cables. Hence MonsterShit. Maybe I should trademark that and see if they want to sue.

     

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    Spike, May 18th, 2008 @ 10:08pm

    It's Pretty Funny

    See, they pay to have the local football stadium to be known as Monster Park (although many of us still call it Candlestick), but most of the people I have talked to that don't go to games think it's named for monster.com. There must be some ultimate irony in that.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), May 19th, 2008 @ 5:38am

    Monster Cable

    Monster Cable ftl.

    And also, Band-aid was once a specific products name? I thought it has always been the generic term, forever, not that it originated from a single company, like aspirin. Doh!

     

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    Carl, May 19th, 2008 @ 7:28am

    In defence of Monster

    I strongly object to the description of Monster as "the company that makes ridiculously expensive tv cables".

    They also make computer cables.

     

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    Nitro, May 19th, 2008 @ 7:56am

    Mah...

    I am surprised they are still around anyway. They sell products at twice the price of other companies that have the same quality product. Some times the price hike is even more. They take advantage of the ignorance of their client base. It's disgusting.

     

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    bored, May 19th, 2008 @ 11:41am

    Monstercable = AssHats

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 20th, 2008 @ 9:14am

    Monster so good at being bad

    I absolutely hate Monster Cable for their pricing / quality ratio and the amount of fear and BS they spread regarding the capability of cables. I won't touch any of their products and advise others, every chance I get, to not purchase.

    On the other hand, I recognize them for their dogged persistence. They are BS slinging asshats who profit from distortion, but they are so GOOD at slinging the BS and they've achieved and sustained such market penetration... you gotta sort of admire somebody who's so good at being bad!

    There's an old saying: "You can't trust to be wrong all the time". Well, in Monster's case, you can trust; they will ALWAYS be the wrong choice. In that way, they make it easier to shop in a big store with lots of choices; just ignore all the Monster stuff and decide between the rest!

     

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    Steve, May 27th, 2008 @ 1:04am

    When does their copywrite of the name end? I want to get and let everyone use the "WORD" Monster.

     

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    JS, May 29th, 2008 @ 9:01am

    Monster

    Hey SPIKE - thanks for pointing out the misnomer...I thought the Stick's thinly veiled renaming to Monster Park was the effort of Monster.com as well...shows you who's got better name recognition - trademarked or not!

     

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    Jo Wilcox, Jun 1st, 2008 @ 4:19am

    Me Too!

    These suckers (with an F) are trying to do me over too! I am just a really cool mum making baby clothing in Australia. Never even heard of Monster Cable here. Want to fight but need a lawyerbotomy to understand the legalities, anyone know a good lawyer

     

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    Steph, Dec 11th, 2008 @ 1:35pm

    monster

    On Behalf of Noel Lee, the founder of Monster Cable.



    I am aware of your concerns regarding the lawsuit that we filed against Monster Mini Golf, a Rhode Island-based company that franchises miniature golf establishments across the U.S. (currently 24 locations). Suffice to say we take this lawsuit very seriously and filed only as a necessary measure to protect our established trademark rights.



    Regardless of what false representations have been circulated about Monster, we are not a faceless corporate giant out to squash legitimate business concerns and rising entrepreneurs. We are in fact, a family-owned company that relies heavily on our brand name and reputation in order to continue serving our customers. We have always tried to provide our customers with the highest performance products at an affordable price. While we are best known for our cable products, we also manufacture high performance accessories in business areas ranging in home theater, computing, gaming, portable entertainment and power management. To protect these business areas, we have sought and been awarded trademarks for each respective category. In addition to the areas above, in the past 30 years, we have also expanded the categories including sports and other lifestyle ventures. According to the trademark law, we must enforce our marks or we will lose them and they will become generic.



    We were trying our best to avoid the lawsuit, and we are trying our best to settle the lawsuit.



    We appreciate your viewpoints and hope you will review the attached documents to fully understand the facts before making judgments against myself or my company.



    http://www.monstercable.com/monster_truth



    Monsterously,

    Noel Lee

    nlee@monstercable.com

     

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    Pete, Dec 14th, 2008 @ 8:51pm

    Public Proposal to Monster Mini Golf

    Public Proposal to Monster Mini Golf

    The internet has changed how companies like us can defend our brand and prevent the dilution of our trademarks by those who choose to infringe on them. By appealing to consumers’ emotions using mis-information and distorted truths has created a different dynamic to patent and trademark protection. The sentiment of our customers wins over our rights to protect the brand. Monster Mini Golf is attempting to trademark “Monster”, Monster Mini Golf, and Monster Entertainment in areas that we already own, so we had no choice to file a lawsuit, or otherwise suffer dilution of our mark and potential loss of the mark itself.

    It’s costly to sue anyone, no one wants to do it. We have made many attempts to avoid this lawsuit by offering a simple and low cost license agreement that would allow us to protect our trademarks that we already own, and allow Monster Mini Golf to use the name for their business. They refused each time.

    Through their attempts to disparage us as a greedy corporate bully, we have been wrongly portrayed as a company focused on squashing small business, when the opposite is true. We are also a small business, and have survived for 30 years. This lawsuit admittedly has caused so much misguided ill will amongst our customers, that we have no choice but to give up on it, and along with it our rights to have a judge or jury decide this conflict.

    So we are publicly declaring;

    1) Monster has filed papers with the Federal Court to dismiss the lawsuit against Monster Mini Golf as of Friday, December 12, 2009. We will let the trademark office decide when they review their trademark application.

    2) Monster will still owns the trademarks granted by the trademark office for which we offer a license for the use of them to Monster Mini Golf for a minimal royalty of $100 per month per franchise. Monster (us) will donate and match the royalty proceeds to the following charities that Monster has supported.

    The Elf foundation; Creating Rooms of Magic:
    http://www.elfsystems.org/partners.html

    Seg4Vets: Segways for disabled veterans

    http://www.draft.cc/draft3/Donations/Benefactors/tabid/113/Default.aspx

    Monster Mini Golf will then have the ability to use and franchise the “monster” trademark and continue with their business, and we will have continued protection. This will save thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees and the court’s time. Everyone wins.

    This lawsuit was never about the money, our requests were always minimal. It’s about the protection of our trademarks. It’s unfortunate for anyone who owns a trademark or patent, that the wrongful and disparaging remarks of a few can inhibit companies like ours from pursuing our right to legal process.

    In this country, lawsuits are a method to resolve differences of opinion. The courts resolve disputes thousands of time each day. It is not always the bad guy suing the good guy. It’s asking the court to hear the both sides and make a decision. A judge or a jury determines ones right to trademark ownership. We believe that we would win this case, or we never would have filed it. This is far from a frivolous lawsuit, we have the prior trademarks to prove it.

    For all of those who have supported us during this attack on our integrity, we thank you for your support. We apologize to everyone who may have been affected by our lawsuit with Monster Mini-Golf. We apologize to our loyal customers who may have been negatively impacted and to our retailers whose customers may have been affected by mis-information. We are sorry for all of the ill-will that has been generated on both sides.

    For 30 years, we have prided ourselves on making the highest performance products in everything that we do. We have millions of happy customers. With economic conditions as they are, we need to focus on our core business. We will just keep producing the great high quality products for all to enjoy and hopefully Monster Mini Golf will get what they want one way or the other.



    Thanks for lending your ear,

    Noel Lee

    The Head Monster

    Founder and Owner of Monster

    http://www.monstercable.com/monster_truth

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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