Trademark

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
m, monster, trademark

Companies:
monster energy, mularkey



Monster Energy Opposes Trademark For Liquor Company Logo, But Will Have A Fight On Its Hands

from the monster-mash dept

Long-time Techdirt readers will likely hear the name Monster Energy and immediately roll their eyes. The energy drink company's reputation for being an insanely aggressive trademark bully probably actually competes with its reputation for making beverages. The company has attempted to trademark bully companies that range from differently-named root beer makers to companies that make video games. Notable in most of these bullying attempts is how little likelihood for confusion there actually is between Monster's marks and those who it attempts to bully. And, of course, the sad reality that many victims bend to Monster's demands rather than put up a legal fight.

But one liquor distillery that has had Monster Energy oppose the trademark application for its logo is claiming it's going to fight back.

Family-owned MurLarkey Distillery in Bristow says it is taking the fight to Monster Energy, the energy drink company, over the right to trademark its “M” logo, which appears on its liquor bottles and merchandise.

After MurLarkey applied for the trademark, Monster Energy lodged an objection with the U.S. Patent Trade Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board in May. MurLarkey’s Tom Murray says he is not going to be bullied by a company that has become known for its overly aggressive tactics enforcing its trademark rights.

Now, the logos in question are not completely dissimilar. Here they are, side by side.


Except there are a number of problems here. First, the reason these logos look similar at all is because the both prominently feature a big "M." That single letter is absolutely not unique. The other reason they might seem similar to your eye is because both feature the actual names of the company in smaller type below that "M." There's some aesthetic similarity in that. But those are really the only arguments Monster has here, because everything else about this makes it unlikely anyone is going to be confused by Murlarkey's logo. Let's count the ways.

To start, the two companies operate in different markets. Yes, both serve liquid for consumption, but one makes an energy drink, while the other is selling liquor, such as vodka. Those are distinct markets and not easily confused during the purchasing process. Beyond that, Murlarkey's logo features its name, a different font for its "M", and the addition of three stars at the top of the logo. These are all far more unique than having a big "M" as part of the logo. Add on to all of that the fact that the "M" logo is used sparingly on liquor bottles themselves and, when it does, is featured on a tiny label near the mouth of the bottle, and any chance for confusion vanishes. Hell, even the apparel Murlarkey's is selling with versions of the logo is obviously benign.

If that causes you to at all think of Monster Energy drinks, then you have brain damage and need immediate care. But with Monster Energy, it's never actually about customer confusion. Instead, the company is nearly pathological in its trademark bullying, as if the legal team there sees someone using an "M" and just can't help but scratch that trademark bullying itch.

Let's just hope that Murlarkey's makes good on its promise to fight back.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. icon
    John Snape (profile), 2 Aug 2018 @ 9:13pm

    Monster Cable, Monster Energy Drinks, ...

    What is it with companies that have 'monster' in their names?

    They don't actually have to embody their name!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    AMS Digital (profile), 2 Aug 2018 @ 10:43pm

    Reputation Management Services- A Way to Strengthen your Online

    Reputation management services in India helps you maintain your online reputation, gain brand recognition and maintain a positive brand image

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Swarup Kumar, 2 Aug 2018 @ 11:06pm

    Reputation Management Services

    do you have website?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    keithf (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 4:12am

    Murlarkey Distillery

    I was stunned to see this on TD this morning, as this is local news to me. I live in Northern Virginia and they're literally right around the corner from me in Bristow. They're a great bunch of folks, and produce some really good spirits.

    Here's hoping that Murlarkey can afford to stick to their guns and tell Monster to stuff it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Prashanth (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 4:48am

    Re:

    I was just going to say: I originally thought this was Monster Cable suing a beverage company. The sad part is, given Monster Cable's behavior, I could believe it. (I wonder whether the two have sued each other yet, and if not, why not.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    gurang, 3 Aug 2018 @ 5:00am

    Comment

    Nice post is here. Thanks for sharing it

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:11am

    Re:

    Monsters, Inc.

    If the energy drinks company goes head-to-head with Disney over this, can I watch? *Popcorn*

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Sharur, 3 Aug 2018 @ 8:58am

    Re: Murlarkey Distillery

    So, what you are saying is...
    They aren't full of malarky!
    ...
    I'll see myself out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re:

    Sadly I suspect that as nuts as Monster Energy is when it comes to trademarks even they aren't stupid enough to challenge The Eternal Mouse.

    There's stupid, there's legal thuggery, and then there's financial suicide, and trying to go after Disney would very much fall into that last category.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 11:31am

    No matter how hard I squint with my reading glasses off, one logo still resembles the letter M; the other, a cat scratch in black. If one is really infringing on the other, I really need my eyesight checked. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Shenanigans (profile), 3 Aug 2018 @ 2:14pm

    Brain Damage

    To be fair, most of the people that drink Monster Energy have brain damage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Fonty McSharp-eyes, 3 Aug 2018 @ 7:47pm

    Murlarkey M = JVL ? Monster M = Jurassic Park ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Aug 2018 @ 8:20pm

    Re:

    Then there are those 3 fuzzy dots at the top too, says Mr. Magoo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Aug 2018 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Brain Damage

    [citation needed]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.