Monster Energy Loses Again, This Time To The NBA

from the losing-streak dept

Longtime readers here at Techdirt will be familiar with Monster Energy’s trademark bullying ways, but even relative newcomers will have had the opportunity to witness what has become an impressive losing streak in trademark disputes. This comes with the bullying territory, where the quick trigger finger on the threat letters and oppositions means that many of them are going to be losers. Still, one would think the sheer volume of these cases would mean quite a bit of billable hours going to the legal team that certainly could be spent better elsewhere.

But the losses keep coming. Monster Energy recently lost an opposition filed by the NBA for the Toronto Raptors team imagery in Singapore, of all places.

Monster Energy argued that the Toronto Raptors logo is too similar to its “claw device mark”, and consumers would likely confuse Monster’s three vertical slashes with the NBA Toronto Raptors’ circular logo of a basketball with three horizontal raptor claw marks out of it.

Here are the images Monster Energy said would cause confusion in the public.


Confused yet? No, of course you’re not. Now, Monster Energy and the Toronto Raptors both have a lengthy roster of variations of these images and branding, but absolutely none of them come remotely close to resembling one another and, even any of them did, there is still no chance for actual confusion in the public about any of this. Fortunately, the adjudicator of the opposition agreed.

The adjudicator presiding over the case said: “[The] mere similarity in the subject matter of the competing marks (for example the three-pronged claw-shaped devices with jagged edges) was not sufficient to establish visual similarity for the purposes of opposing the registration of a trademark.” The adjudicator went on to add that consumer knowledge of both brands would mean that confusion would not occur.

I get that bullies are gonna bully, but I still fail to see how any of this has been productive for Monster Energy as of late.

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Companies: monster energy, nba, toronto raptors

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Comments on “Monster Energy Loses Again, This Time To The NBA”

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21 Comments
Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I wasn’t aware that Monster Energy was fielding an NBA team, though. Or making British pizza. Or liquor. Or software in Japan. Or aquariums. Or movies.

You only have a right to defend your mark in a very narrow and specific market.

It also helps if the company you sue is small. Coffer size is probably the only reason the two giant Monsters (Energy & Cable) haven’t attacked each other.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

We’ve taken all of our profits & paid lawyers who told us these were slam dunks that would get us paid even more!!!

IP has become a weapon to extract cash from people unable to afford to fight back. This isn’t what was intended but hey why not, every type of IP needs a lawsuit seeing billions in damages over really stupid things…

Like a comics convention…

SteveG (profile) says:

I've worked out their strategy

The primary consumer of Monster energy drinks? Computer nerds.
The primary consumer of Techdirt? Computer nerds.

The endless stream of pointless lawsuits is a deliberate attempt to leverage the Streisand effect to reach their target market through Techdirt. YOU are providing them with free* advertising.

*Free does not include millions in wasted legal fees.

Anonymous Coward says:

Bullies gonna bully

"I get that bullies are gonna bully, but I still fail to see how any of this has been productive for Monster Energy as of late."

It’s not productive to the company but you also kind of answered your own question –

"…the sheer volume of these cases would mean quite a bit of billable hours going to the legal team…"

Who wants to bet that the board member(s) that recommended these suits go forward is a lawyer?

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