Monster Trademark Lawsuits: Can't Use The Word Monster

from the fun-fun-fun dept

Ever since the San Francisco 49ers decided to resell the naming rights to their stadium, Candlestick Park (did anyone ever actually call it 3Com Park?), to Monster Cable Products, people have been joking that job search website Monster.com is getting a ton of free publicity. However, there’s a lot more to this story, apparently. While a San Francisco referendum will force the name back to Candlestick at some point, Monster Cable has been going out of their way to make sure no one, anywhere uses the word “Monster.” The obvious target, of course, is Monster.com. Indeed, Monster Cable sued them, and a settlement was reached, though details aren’t available. Among those threatened with lawsuits: 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. With those last two in mind, it’s particularly amusing (or disturbing) to see that the 49ers said part of the reason they were so excited about Monster paying them millions to rename the stadium (other than the money, of course) was that the word “monster” was so prominent in sports — noting how both the Bears and the Red Sox use the word. Perhaps someone should explain to the Monster legal team how this is something of a trademark monstrosity.


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Comments on “Monster Trademark Lawsuits: Can't Use The Word Monster”

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28 Comments
Monster Employee says:

Re: Re: a trademark fight so late?

Hi,

I am tasked with posting to message boards with comments from Noel Lee, The Head Monster as we call him here. Contrary to public belief, Monster has one, yes one lawyer on staff. Please hear out the whole story before jumping to judgement.

Here is what Noel says:

Monster Wrongfully Accused:
A Note from Noel Lee, CEO of Monster Cable Products.

There have been a lot of rumors, misinformation, and false accusations spread on the web about Monster Cable and its trademark and brand protection efforts. We have been wrongfully accused of suing any company using the ?Monster? name, and as being a ?corporate bully.?

Anyone who knows our company, or me personally, knows that we are not that kind of company, and I am not that kind of person. The information out there is categorically untrue.

Being a champion of the entrepreneur, and having started Monster in a garage with no money myself, I would be the last person to want to stop someone who had a legitimate right to use a trade name for their business. Those who know me and have met me, know that we have built a fantastic company from nothing through sheer hard work and a lot of sweat equity. You can check out our story at: http://monstercable.com/company_info/ and http://www.monsterparksf.com/info/WhoIsMonster.asp

I have even spoken at several colleges about how to become an entrepreneur, and value these opportunities. In fact, my parents were on one of the last boats out of China during its civil war. I truly have lived the American dream, and I am not going to prevent others from achieving it. I feel fortunate to have been born an American.

Some of the negative press you have read may have started with some newspaper articles that have mistaken information in them, or others who have found this opportunity to spread negative press for their own agendas.

Snow Monsters mistakenly portrayed that our objection to their attempt to register trademarks was a lawsuit, which isn?t true. We have not sued Snow Monsters. We would not try to harm a company whose focus is on ski education programs and products for children. They will be issuing a clarification on their web site in a few days.

In fact, Monster is a big supporter of programs for children. You can see what we have recently done with kids at Monster Park. http://www.monsterparksf.com/fun/Photos.asp. The videos with Yomi Agunbiade, director of Recreation and Parks, that is up on our web site shows our compassion for kids at the opening of Monster Park. http://www.monsterparksf.com/fun/Movies.asp?MovieName=MCP04tailgate_12MB

Before you form any negative impressions of my company or how I have directed it, permit me to straighten out some of the misconceptions.

1) We do not have any trademark infringement lawsuits pending, and we do not object or take action against businesses just because they sell products that have ?Monster? in their names. If we did, we would never be able to run our business, not to mention the financial burden would crush us. We have better things to do than spend this kind of money and time.

2) There are over 1,100 registered ?Monster? trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, and probably hundreds more that are unregistered. We are not suing them or taking any action against them and did not do so when they filed the tradmarks. These marks have been allowed by the Trademark Office, just as our 50+ marks in the various classes listed below. Unless they interfere with any of these marks or dilute the ?Monster? brand, we don?t object.

3) We have not sued or filed actions against the hundreds of companies that are using the word Monster. So if anyone is representing this to you, they are not right and should be corrected.

What I think has happened, is people are misinterpreting the U.S. Patent and Trademark office?s database. When you do a search on the USPTO database for Monster, it brings up a bunch of records dating back to 1983; like a Google search does. It appears people are seeing the search results and assuming they are lawsuits. They are not lawsuits.

In fact, most of the search results are duplicate listings or merely requests for 60 day extensions (which allow us to do further investigation to see if there are any potential conflicts). The database shows Monster has opposed about 80 trademarks over the last twenty five years. That?s about 4 trademark oppositions a year, which isn?t very many for a company that has over 50+ Monster trademarks and is a famous brand.

4) Trademark registrations and trademark oppositions are decided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, not us. Even if we do object to a particular filing to register a trademark, it is the Trademark office that determines if the business or person filing for the trademark registration is entitled to it, NOT US.

5) Our examination and investigation of businesses filing trademarks with our name Monster is normal processes for any company having a trademark that they want to protect. We know we don’t own the word Monster; however like any other trademark holder we do have the right and need to protect our Monster brand when it is in danger of being diluted, tarnished, or infringed.

6) The federal trademark law says that we are required to police our marks and enforce them or we will lose them, or risk weakening them. We didn?t make these rules. Congress and years of Supreme Court rulings have determined the rules of the game. This type of protection is authorized by federal and state statutes (referred to as anti-dilution laws) designed to prevent the weakening of a famous mark’s reputation. For more information, you may want to check out: Nolo Press (http://www.nolo.com/lawcenter/ency/article.cfm/ObjectID/E24CD50D-14DE-4364-AC615684D93E6CBE/catID/D8932879-DC34-43DF-BF65FC92D55FEE5D#18C5EF1D-16AD-4F2A-B7EF7D691972BE58)

7) Anyone can use a trademark without having the trademark registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, as long as it doesn?t infringe or dilute someone else?s trademark. This is referred to as a common law trademark. There are many trademarks that exist under common law rights.

In the case of Snow Monsters, we have NEVER sued them, and we are not trying to harm their company. I think that their products are great and don?t cause us any problems, I have written them and told them so. They are also using the word ?monster? for characters, not as a brand, which is how we use Monster. Please, see the list of our trademarks below that I have provided for you.

8) I hate frivolous lawsuits as much as the next person, and would never engage in a lawsuit that was frivolous. They are a waste of the public?s money, and the time of the parties involved. In fact, the courts do not allow ?frivolous? lawsuits to proceed. The courts have procedural safeguards to eliminate frivolous lawsuits, as well as penalties (like Rule 11) that can be levied against attorneys and parties who bring such suits. We have never been accused by a court of filing frivolous lawsuits.

9) The newspaper articles and other rumors that said we sued the Chicago Bears, Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, or a Cajun restaurant are all untrue. We have NEVER filed any lawsuits or other actions against them. Don?t just take our word for it, do a search of the court records, and the USPTO database, and we can guarantee that you will find that we have not sued (or even filed trademark oppositions) against these companies.

10) There are millions of Monster fans who love our company and love our products. My passion for the products and unrelenting drive to innovate and create the highest quality products is well known in the industry and with consumers. Where most companies find out how to take quality out of something to reduce costs, we find how we can ?improve? products and make them the best of class. That?s why our customers love Monster products.

I am very sad indeed to see misinformation out there as it wrongfully portrays the company to be a corporate bully, when nothing could be further from the truth.

If anyone wants to talk with me about this, or if this email does not answer your questions, please email me at monsterinfo@monstercable.com.
Although I may not get back to you immediately since I am currently on travel, I will get back to you.

In the meantime, I ask everyone not to prejudge until you know all of the facts. Hope this clears things up for you. We merely want to protect the trademarks that it has taken me 25 years of hard work to build.If anyone else is under a wrong impression about our intention otherwise, please feel free to pass this on.

Monsterously yours,

Noel Lee
The Head Monster

Here is the list of our registered Monster trademarks. We have many more that are pending registration.

Class 6: Electronic Cables and Wires
Monster Cable

Class 9: Consumer Electronics

In class 9 we have the following registered trademarks, some which date back as far as 1978:

Monster
Monster Cable
Monster Power
Monster Music
Monster Batteries
Monster Car Audio
Monster Central
Monster Computer
Monster Internet
Monster Digital
Monster Game
Monster Home Theatre
Monster Lock
Monster Microphone
Monster Mobile
Monster Mounts
Monster Multimedia
Monster Networking
Monster Satellite
Monster Sport
Monster Standard
Monster Tips
Monster USB
Monster Wire America

Class 16: Consumer Electronics
Monster
Monster Connection

Class 18: Leather Bags and Apparel
Monster Design

Class 25: Clothing and Apparel

In Class 25, we have the following registered trademarks, some which date back over 15 years:

I Am A Monster
Monster
Monster Attitude
Monster Design
Monster Sport

Class 35: Advertising and Marketing Services
eMonster
iMonster
Monster Bucks
Monsterbook
Monsterguide

Class 36: Financial Services
Monstermoney

Class 41: Entertainment, Educational and Training Services
Monster Music
Monster Style

Class 42: Research and Development Services
Monster Music
Monsterlinks

R Wright says:

Re: Re: Re: a trademark fight so late?

Mr. Lee

It appears you are one complete Idiot. I understand you are two steps
away from needing your ass wiped after having some nerve issues. You
think this might be due to the way you choose to do business. What
about the day you find yourself with dirt being shoveled in your mouth and you arrive in hell to an oven that has been cracked up for all your bullshit business practices. Give some thought to what appears to be the road you
are headed down. Maybe you ought to try and think about helping somebody
in business rather than try and destroy somebody’s dream’s you jerk off.

RW

saleh says:

Is it the lawyers or the law?

Someone with more legal expertise would have to answer this, but is the problem that the lawyers don’t understand the laws, or that the laws don’t accurately reflect intent of policy?

It is my (admittedly limited) understanding that for protection of trademark, a firm has to agressively defend that trademark. For example, if you use “kleenex” as a generic term, and Kimberly Clark doesn’t do anything about it, that dilutes the trademark a tiny bit. Enough references to “kleenex” rather than “Kleenex brand tissue”, and Kimberly Clark can lose the trademark.

It’s possible that Monster Cable isn’t taking legal action anticipating winning any of the cases. But, even if a judge rules that Monster.com, Pixar… are not violating Monster Cable’s trademark, Monster Cable can prove that they have agressively defended their trademark. In the future, when, say, another firm starts selling “Monster wire”, Monster Cable can point to their previous actions as proof.

Monster Laws says:

Re: Re: Is it the lawyers or the law?

Stay tuned for MONSTER DADDY who obviously has enough time and money to defend their rights licensing the rights to use the word MONSTER to other operating companies such as Monster who apparently is going to plaster the country with Monster cleaning products used for Household, Marine, Garage and Industrial use. Get this they even have Monster Glue, good luck Gorilla Glue. Stay tuned for these guys they have filed a federal lawsuit against Monster Cable and from what I hear plans on making a example out our friends at Monster Cable. The public court records indicate Monster Cable’s attempt to get it dismissed was thrown out by a South Carolina Federal Judge. Good Luck Monster Daddy! Show them jerk offs who their real daddy is. Jason

MG says:

Re: Is it the lawyers or the law?

You’ve raised an excellent point.

It’s pretty much a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

Either you let others use it then loose your rights or defend your
rights and be called too aggresive.

And people wonder why our economy is so bad and no one wants
to start a company. This is just one of the many ways those with
a small business get the short end of the stick.

Carey Shockey says:

Monster seats

Personally, I would love to see Monster Cable try to go after the Green Monster in Fenway, especially after the recent World Series. It would be wonderful to see all the Red Sox fans run around like angry villagers and burn down a Monster Cable building. That a lawyer would have the audacity to question a holy landmark of baseball is really amusing. I think it would be more likely that the the company would be confused with the wall rather than the other way around.

Rodney Lee says:

MONSTER DADDY pops Monster Cable for Trademark Inf

As a reporter I have been keeping my eye on this case and have found Monster Daddy is going all out. We are presently trying to contact them to have the full story publish in the journal to bring light to Monster Cables tactics and educate their customers as to what kind of company they are supporting when buying their products. I have talked to several legal advisors and this type of business practice falls under the corrupt organization act. I will keep you all posted.

Rich says:

Re: MONSTER DADDY pops Monster Cable for Trademark Inf

I will give you a story on Monster Daddy. One that will blow your mind. He loves to sue people, comments fraud, extortion and perjury and this is his passion. I will give you a list of people to he has screwed. This will make a great story if you want one. He is no one to brag about.

Mike says:

Re: Re: MONSTER DADDY pops Monster Cable for Trademark Inf

Not sure if this posted the first time.

I think your missing the point, extortion is defined as the methods of obtaining something through force or threats, so it sounds like Monster Daddy has balls of steel. If he is one man that took on a company the size of Monster Cables, I would surely not mess with him!

Sounds like this guy RICH must of truly crossed the path of one mean SOB, pardon the pun MD if your reading.

I like many others here, are of the opinion and in support of the few like Monster Daddy that have had the balls to go after the criminals like Monster Cable. I guess after reading this Monster Daddy truly understands the methods of fighting fire with fire even if it does consist of extortion.

I guess you can say it’s in the name and that being said my hats off to MONSTER DADDY!

Victor says:

Tognotti The Scum Bag

To understand the core of the issues with Monster Cable let’s focus our attention to the scum of the earth called Dave Tognotti general counsel for Monster Cable. In a recent convention this guy did not have enough respect or loyalty to even his wife & family of three to want to keep his little pecker in his pants as he was witnessed herding a prostitute to his pad at the gambling casino. So that is what kind of scum we are dealing with my friends. I wonder how much longer that marriage will last and if we are lucky he will be dragged down the road that he has tried to take everybody else and get his clocked cleaned if she had any sense about her.

Rich says:

Assumption is the mother

I was amazed when I came across this site. I had no idea Monster Cable was suing companies as mentioned in this blog. What I found more amazing is that Monster Daddy was getting notoriety for actions. I will warn everyone this; Monster Daddy is no better than Monster Cable and most likely much worse. They are know for suing others and every case that I am aware of, they have committed fraud and extortion among many other illegal actions to get there way.

Take a look at this website. http://www.websupp.org/data/DSC/312769-DSC.pdf

You will see how Monster Daddy even lied and created things illegally.

It would be great if an upstanding company went after Monster Cable if it is warranted but be careful to be supportive of a company (one person) who operates his business from his home and feeds on suing people.

People need to get the whole story instead of assuming. Ask what Monster Daddy has ever given to besides himself. Believe me, he has taken and screwed from anyone he can.

MG says:

Monster Cable is a small business defending itself

For those who are making it look like Monster Cable is the bad guy,
consider the fact that they are a small family owned business that
offered a reasonable monthly license fee for each of the mini golf
establishments. Compared to paying attorney fees, their offer was
a bargain.

Monster was going to match the fee and donate all the money to
charities that help re-decorate recovery rooms for children fighting
severe illnesses at hospitals around the country and another which
buys segways for injured troops.

Why can’t the media inform people about these and other beneficial
things Monster Cable does throughout their community instead of
always attacking them for defending their own legal trademarks.

Mike says:

MD is a Super Hero

I think your missing the point, extortion is defined as the methods of obtaining something through force or threats, so it sounds like Monster Daddy has balls of steel. If he is one man that took on a company the size of Monster Cables, I would surely not mess with him!

Sounds like this guy RICH must of truly crossed the path of one mean SOB, pardon the pun MD if your reading.

I like many others here, are of the opinion and in support of the few like Monster Daddy that have had the balls to go after the criminals like Monster Cable. I guess after reading this Monster Daddy truly understands the methods of fighting fire with fire even if it does consist of extortion.

I guess you can say it’s in the name and that being said my hats off to MONSTER DADDY!

Onixdna (user link) says:

Monster Trade Mark Infringment in the EU

Monster are being sued by ONIX DNA Ltd in the EU they have bullied and used stall tactics to infringe a registered trade mark to sell their headphones.

For over a year they have stalled ignored and even agreed to pay for use of trade mark they don’t own. In any event they think they can bully its use with complete illegality

Please Check this site http://www.monster-dna.co.uk.

We will stop them if you want to help we would love to hear from you

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