Monster Energy Loses Appeal On Monsta Pizza Trademark Ruling

from the monster-loss dept

Monster Energy, maker of caffeinated liquid crank, has a long and legendary history of being roughly the most obnoxious trademark bully on the planet. It faces stiff competition in this arena of bad, of course, but it has always put up quite a fight to win that title. The company either sues or attempts to block trademarks for everything that could even possibly be barely linked to the term "monster" in any way. One such case was its opposition to a trademark registration for Monsta Pizza in the UK. Pizza is, of course, not a beverage, but that didn't stop Monster Energy from trying to keep the pizza chain from its name. It lost that opposition, with the IPO pointing out that its citizens are not stupid enough to be confused between drinks and pizza.

And that should have been the end of the story, except that this is Monster Energy we're talking about, so of course it appealed its loss. Its grounds for appeal amounted to "Nuh-uh! The public really might be confused!" Thankfully, Monster Energy lost this appeal as well.

However, the bid was rejected "in its entirety" at the Court of Appeal.

Chris Dominey, who founded travelling pizzeria Monsta with Christopher Lapham in 2017, said he had been "immensely relieved" to reach the end of the battle but the business remained in debt due to legal fees which could not be recouped.

He said: "It feels great, I have got my business back, and it does feel good to beat a 'big bully' so to speak. If you are confident that you are right you should go for it, but but I would tell other small businesses to beware that it does cost a lot of money."

He's not kidding. In all, Dominey's business is out over eight thousand pounds in legal costs, having only been able to recover a fraction of what it cost him to defend his business against what appears to be a completely frivolous trademark opposition. That's how trademark bullying works, of course. Large companies like Monster Energy rely on that onerous cost to be able to get away with its spurious demands. That simply is not how trademark law is supposed to work.

But in the modern age, there are ways a business can get its customers to help fight back against such bullying.

The business uses a monster-shaped pizza oven, which its logo is designed to represent, meaning a name change would have required considerable upheaval. Mr Dominey thanked people who contributed to a crowdfunding campaign which helped pay for some of the legal costs, and those who "gave us support and told us to keep fighting".

The world needs more companies like Monsta Pizza fighting back against this kind of bullying to have a more global impact on trademark bullying. For now, we'll just have to enjoy another Monster Energy loss.

Filed Under: monsta, monster, trademark, uk
Companies: monsta pizza, monster energy


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  • icon
    mrtraver (profile), 11 Feb 2019 @ 8:45pm

    Can Monster Energy and Monster Cable go after each other and both go broke?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2019 @ 8:59pm

    Yeah, I'M confused. Which one do I use to power my computer speakers? And which one makes the Cable Car Cocktail?

    Cry 'haddock' and let loose the fog of law! Also, pass the Monster Popcorn. Or the Cookie Monster Popcorn.

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

  • icon
    Discuss It (profile), 11 Feb 2019 @ 9:06pm

    Abuse

    I think that if companies want a "three strikes law", then we should have a "three strikes law" on trademark and copyright abuse. Abuse the system three times, you loose your right to trademark or copyright. On four strikes, you are automatically bankrupted and put out of business, and all officers should be interdicted from ever serving on a board of directors for life, along with disbarring their attorneys for 10 years for a first offense, and for life upon a second conviction.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2019 @ 8:51am

      Re: Abuse

      "Abuse the system three times, you loose your right to trademark or copyright."

      To be consistent with other things should it not be: "Be accused of abuse three times, you loose your right to trademark or copyright."

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

  • icon
    sinsi (profile), 11 Feb 2019 @ 10:35pm

    Maybe he could have changed it to "Dominey's Pizza".

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Feb 2019 @ 1:09am

    If only the law stopped thinking that corporations are always right. The penalties are always lined up against the little guys, but when a corporation does something that allegedly has a penalty there are no teeth in that law.

    Corporations would bitch & scream about how unfair making them pay for pointless lawsuits they bring that lack in merit, but as a society we need to demand the playing field be leveled, that all men (and pesudo-man corporate entities) get the full & fair measure of the law.

    Imagine if in the 1st or 2nd bullying case Monster brought they were handed a loss & the bill for their targets costs. We wouldn't be on meritless lawsuit 5000, they would have fired the firms that rubbed their hands together to get that retainer & earned every penny by destroying another company that an brain damaged exec at Monster thinks infringes on their dumbass logo.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2019 @ 1:47am

    None of this would have happened if Section 230 wasn't around to defend pirates.

    People are watching.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 12 Feb 2019 @ 3:03am

      Re:

      blinks

      I... hope that was sarcasm, but with the amount of stupidity around on the subject you can never be sure. On the off chance you're serious, please explain how the 2 are even remotely related.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2019 @ 5:36am

      Re:

      All your problems emanate from the fact that section 230 allows for the average person to wear a self made tin foil hat.

      Obviously people need to purchase their tin foil hats from a reputable dealer who has properly licensed said hat intellectual properties, such as the trademark, patent and copyright.

      These dirty filthy pirates are stealing all our IP!!!!!111111

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Feb 2019 @ 3:46pm

      Re:

      What, you and your girlfriend from Canada?

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

  • identicon
    Senator Padme, 12 Feb 2019 @ 6:44am

    So this is how liberty dies... with onerous IP laws.

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

  • icon
    Adrian Cherry (profile), 12 Feb 2019 @ 3:24pm

    Crowdfunding appeal

    and by celebrating the defeat of a bully and mentioning the crowdfunding appeal I think it ill behoves you that didn't at least provide a link to the said crowd funding appeal.

    https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-the-monsta/

    Lets support them for standing up to Monster Energy.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Feb 2019 @ 10:17am

    Never got why monster energy got so big. Hundreds of teaspoons of pure sugar all suspended in a carcinogenic cocktail of stabilizers and vomit suppressants (that much sugar will cause humans to retch).

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


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