Monster Energy Loses Trademark Opposition As UK IPO Mentions That The Letter 'M' Isn't Distinctive
from the m-kay dept
Monster Energy: is there no trademark opposition they can’t lose? The drink company, which might be more well known at this point for its trademark bullying than its beverages, has been handed loss after loss after loss after loss in trademark oppositions to everything from industrial paint manufacturers to the NBA and on to other beverage companies. Why the company spends so much time opposing trademarks is literally anyone’s guess, but the losses all amount to the complete lack of potential confusion in the disputed trademark applications, as well as Monster Energy believing it can control words and images that it most certainly cannot.
The latest of these, in yet another opposition Monster Energy lost, has the UK’s IPO explaining to Monster Energy that it cannot prevent other companies from using the letter “M” prominently in their logos.
In a decision on Wednesday, March 6, the UK IP Office ruled that Monster Energy could not stop Robert Marchington from registering a trademark, finding there was no likelihood of confusion.
In its opposition, Monster relied on its earlier registered marks (EU numbers 2439068; 3227041; 12924973 and 14226765) which depict animal or monster scratch marks that create the letter ‘M’. The mark was for a pair of legs which took the shape of the letter ‘M’ and seemed to be taking a step forward.
In its decision the IPO said Marchington’s applied-for mark and Monster’s trademarks were visually similar only to a low degree. It said that the presence of the letter ‘M’ in both parties’ marks “does not convey any particular meaning”.
The fact that Monster Energy needed to be told as much serves as a wonderful barometer for how ridiculous Monster Energy trademark oppositions generally are. Again, when it comes to trademark law, the entire point is to prevent public confusion as to the source of goods. Monster Energy’s logo is indeed distinctive, as it makes the letter “M” out of claw marks. This does not somehow grant exclusivity to the letter “M” to Monster Energy, however. Legs and clawmarks, in other words, are different.
As are the markets of soft drinks and alcohol, according to the IPO.
“Whilst soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are similar in nature in that they are both liquids for consumption, consumers will consider them to be different categories of goods,” the IPO said.
Additionally, it said that “syrups and preparations”, covered by Machington’s mark, cannot be considered a finish drink product, and therefore will not be in competition with Monster’s beverages.
I continue to be baffled as to how paying all of these billable hours, or the salaries and benefits for the in-house legal team, just to handle the load of trademark oppositions that routinely end up as losses, makes any financial sense.