Monster Energy Loses Trademark Opposition With Monsta Pizza In The UK

from the pie-in-the-eye dept

For readers of this site, we writers would simply need to utter the name “Monster Energy” to get their eyes rolling. The makers of energy beverages have been notorious in their trademark bullying habits and have built a reputation for being both blowhards and litigious. If one actually reviews our stories about the company, however, these bullying attempts just as often lead to pushback and losses for Monster Energy. And now it seems we have another such instance on our hands.

A little over a year ago, a pizza joint in the UK applied to register its business name, Monsta Pizza, as a trademark. Monster Energy, which again I will point out makes drinks and not pizza, immediately opposed the registration, citing its own trademarks and claiming that the public would somehow be confused. A year and lots of legal fees later, the trademark office has finally ruled that Monster Energy’s opposition is denied and Monsta Pizza’s mark will be granted. The pizza company will not need to change any of its branding moving forward. Monster Energy has also been ordered to pay some of Monsta Pizza’s legal fees.

The folks at Monsta Pizza are understandably pleased.

“On Thursday George Salthouse of the UK Intellectual Property Office ruled that Monster Energy Drinks had failed in their attempt to prevent us using the the name Monsta Pizza.

Its been a long and frustrating battle, which started in June 2017 when we applied to register our trademark, and finally ended in a tribunal hearing in London a few weeks ago and the decision last week.

They objected to our use of the word Monsta on all possible grounds. We decided to fight it rather than give up and rebrand for two reasons; firstly, we really like our name, it perfectly encompasses what we do and our customers like it too. And secondly, we believed their objection was wrong and we weren’t prepared to walk away from all our hard work just because a bully didn’t like what we were doing.

I’ve done that before and its the only thing I’ve ever really regretted.

We’re so pleased that common sense prevailed and incredibly grateful for the support and encouragement we received from everybody who heard about it when we finally made public what was going on.

Now that this is all over we’re roaring to go.

Or as the Monsta says, ‘Pizzaaaaaargh!’

As we’ve said before, trademark bullying often works, mostly because large companies can drown smaller companies in expensive litigation and oppositions. But it’s good to see that occasionally the victims of this bullying are willing to fight back, not to mention that courts occasionally lighten the burden by awarding legal fees.

That said, I don’t think anyone expects Monster Energy to cease being such a monster trademark bully.

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Companies: monsta pizza, monster energy

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Comments on “Monster Energy Loses Trademark Opposition With Monsta Pizza In The UK”

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16 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Ownership

_For readers of this site, we writers would simply need to utter the name “Monster Energy” to get their eyes rolling._

Because the sanctity of ownership? Clearly, Monster must own the word “Monster” on many levels. And the readers of TD don’t believe in ownership.

Seriously if Trademarks are to be narrowly defined, then cases like these should be much more rare. However, the trademark is being used as a club rather than a scalpel.

That One Guy (profile) says:

'Our customers are such idiots of COURSE they'd be confused!'

It’s an… interesting strategy, ‘protecting’ your brand by repeatedly acting as though anyone who might buy from you is so monumentally stupid that they’ll see ‘monster’ or any permutation of it and immediately think of only one company, because clearly that word simply didn’t exist before they came up with it, and has never been used before them or in other ways.

Michael Downing (user link) says:

A quick word from Downing IP

We’re really pleased with the result we secured for Monsta Pizza. They came to us after Monster Energy filed the opposition, and our immediate reaction was that the objection was ridiculous. We found some great evidence to show that ‘Monster’ was a commonly used word in the catering trade, which really put Monster’s objection in context. In the end, the Tribunal agreed with us that people may well recognise the ‘Monster’ name for energy drinks, but they won’t make the association if they see it in a different context – like pizza.

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