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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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 5:53pm

    Confused? Yeah!

    Hell yeah I'm angry and confused. I thought the Monster "M" was just poorly drawn. I never considered it was supposed to be slashes. Because it doesn't look like slash marks at all.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:03pm

    Isn't it true though if in acquiring a trademark, you are compelled by law to protect it and if not you can lose it? Aren't companies forced to do what they may not necessarily wish to do?

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

    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:40pm

      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.

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

    • identicon
      Lorenzo St. Dubois, 25 Sep 2018 @ 10:26pm

      Re:

      No and no. Abandoning a trademark or said mark becoming genericized and therefore not worth protecting takes a bit more than not reacting to oh-so-similar logos such as this.

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

    • icon
      Madd the Sane (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 10:48pm

      Re:

      They may be compelled, but they are being overly aggressive. They're basically suing anyone that has three jagged lines in their branding, regardless of what market the other company is in.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 9:55pm

    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...

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

    • icon
      hij (profile), 26 Sep 2018 @ 4:52am

      Re:

      To be fair, there is not much else to do with the money when you are selling caffeinated sugar water. How much R&D do you need when your options are to either add more sugar or more caffeine.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2018 @ 12:15pm

        Re: Re

        "How much R&D do you need when your options are adding more sugar or more caffeine??"

        How about an Energy 'Light' drink that only puts you on half a jagged edge, but gives you enough energy to get the laundry done?!!

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

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 10:03pm

    On the bright side, at least it ain’t another Monster Cable story.

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

  • icon
    SteveG (profile), 25 Sep 2018 @ 11:40pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2018 @ 6:17am

    This constitutes all of the winning the Toronto Raptors will do for the 2018-19 season.

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

  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 26 Sep 2018 @ 8:05am

    I guess I have been missing these articles. I always thought Monster Cable was the trademark bully of "Monster"

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2018 @ 8:34am

    Another trademark enforcement failure? Damn, John Smith is gonna be pissed...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2018 @ 8:55am

    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?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2018 @ 12:25pm

      Re: Bullies gonna bully

      Protecting trademarks is a tax right-off right?

      That litigation would be favorable over paying taxes is disgruntling.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2018 @ 11:37am

    Monster Mash

    Monster Mash was around long before Monster Energy Drinks and so was Godzilla Soda.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Sep 2018 @ 2:49pm

    Where can I buy this energy drink called Toronto Raptors, it looks pretty enticing.

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

  • icon
    David (profile), 11 Oct 2018 @ 5:50am

    I guess the people behind Jurassic Park 3 could sue Monster because Monster is using 3 claw marks after Jurassic Park 3 did.

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


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