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.

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Companies: monster, monster cable, monster mini golf

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

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62 Comments
Tack Furlo (user link) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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?

cephyn (user link) says:

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.

Joe says:

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!

Quantum John (profile) says:

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.

smart enough to not buy monster cables says:

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.

Overcast says:

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.

Chipsg (profile) says:

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.

Nicholas Iler says:

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 !-)

Johnny (user link) says:

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

Anonymous Coward says:

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

freakengine says:

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!

Anonymous Coward says:

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!

Steph says:

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

Pete (user link) says:

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

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