Monster Energy Opposes Teenager's Trademark Application Over Logos Not At All Similar

from the monster-bash dept

Monster Energy. The company's name is enough to set the average Techdirt reader's eyes rolling. The company that makes sugar-heavy energy drinks has become essentially a caricature of an overly aggressive trademark enforcer. This habit is somewhat surprising, given just how often the company loses lawsuits and oppositions, which one would think would be a deterrent for future behavior. Instead, it almost seems as though every loss only spurs Monster Energy on.

This continues on to today, when we learn that Monster Energy filed an opposition to a 21-year-old's trademark application for his business, Monarch Energy. You're probably thinking that the opposition is over the name of the young man's company, which would itself be a stretch as trademark infringement. But, no, it's over the kid's proposed logo.

At age 16, Mason McGuire discovered arthritis in his lower back. The mountain biker, baseball player and motorcycle rider wanted to stay active without aggravating his newfound aches. One year older, the Forest Charter School graduate decided to start his own business to mitigate his problems, and hopefully ease those of others.

While taking a business course at Sierra College, the words of one individual continued to ring in his head: “My teacher kept saying, ‘You’ll never learn it until you do it,’” he said.

So he did.

But on July 30, McGuire received a letter that stunted his company’s development. Monster Energy filed a notice of opposition against his company, Monarch Energy, for violating trademark rules. Specifically, it said McGuire’s logo was too similar to Monster’s.

Are the logos similar? No, they damn well are not.

Trademark imageImage result for monster energy logo

Other than the fact that both logos incorporate the letter "M" and both companies list their names below that "M", there is little to nothing similar about these two logos. The names of the companies, both prominently displayed, are different. The fonts are different. The styling around the letter "M" is different. The rest of the trade dress is different. Are people going to be confused by these two company logos? No, they absolutely are not.

And, yet, this 21 year old has had to deal with this opposition before even getting his company truly off the ground.

Despite maintaining distinctions, McGuire said he was a bit nervous Monster Energy would file a claim against his company, because of Monster’s history of filing lawsuits, so he tried doing his due diligence before choosing the logo.

“I made sure to go over the rules many times that wouldn’t infringe with Monster,” he said. But, he later said he suspected the large energy company might intervene legally anyway.

McGuire acknowledges that there is no trademark police per se, meaning that Monster Energy must be aware of smaller businesses trying to exploit its brand. But, he added, the company can drop the court filing once it realizes an entrepreneur is not acting in bad faith.

“I don’t care too much that they’re going after me,” he said. But McGuire — who has yet to hire an attorney — said he could lose his business with the possible legal fees needed to combat Monster Energy. He also said he can’t afford a new trademark to change his logo, for which he’s already paid.

Monster Energy doesn't have to care about the harm it's doing, of course, but it certainly should. Especially when this is yet another example of an opposition that never needed to be filed. But because Monster Energy wants to play the bully, a young man that started a business might lose it.

Filed Under: mason mcguire, monster, trademark
Companies: monarch energy, monster energy


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 8:04pm

    Might I suggest some new company mottos?

    Monster Energy: Do you have the energy to engage in legal thuggery?

    Monster Energy: Want to be an ass but don't have the energy? We can fix that.

    Monster Energy: We really need to find new lawyers.

    Monster Energy: If we get people focused on our legal actions maybe they'll forget the taste of the swill we sell.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2019 @ 8:31pm

    I am so glad that I have never purchased a Monster energy drink.

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

  • icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), 18 Sep 2019 @ 9:18pm

    I wonder how much of this sort of stuff is driven by corporate lawyers looking to generate billable hours vs executives trying to look like they're doing something useful vs executives who are just clueless.

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

    • identicon
      Paul B, 18 Sep 2019 @ 10:03pm

      Re:

      After digging into SEC filings for Monster I found that they had a 2.6 million slush fund for legal expenses, other than that it's hard to find out how much money they spend on legal matters but given the insane profitability and huge stock buyback programs they are running, as well as the fact that distribution is now done by coke, Monster has very little to do as a firm but print money and market its drinks.

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

  • identicon
    dr evil, 18 Sep 2019 @ 11:28pm

    trademark

    too bad there is no punishment for these bogus suits. if some group like the ACLU took up the cause (but they are too busy getting tranny bathroom rights as a thing).....

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2019 @ 10:43am

      Re: trademark

      Intake of High sugary beverages push the human pancreas to its limit for producing enough insulin to bring blood glucose levels down. Its just a matter of time before those monster lawyers, full of their own product, turn the lawsuits on themselves for the diabetes coming their way.

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

  • identicon
    stine, 19 Sep 2019 @ 12:50am

    Radio Shack vs Autoshack

    Autoshack rebranded as AutoZone because one word in the two-word name. If that's the precident, then Monster wins, but only if they go after every other $blank Energy drink.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2019 @ 2:55am

    Monster Energy

    Monstering all startups.

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 19 Sep 2019 @ 3:40am

    Phew! For a moment there

    I thought you said he was being sued by Mobster Energy, because that probably wouldn't end well. Good thing Mobster branched out into cables. Still, the guy could have been sued by the makers of Jurassic Park III.

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

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 19 Sep 2019 @ 5:11am

      Re: Phew! For a moment there

      Also, a good thing that ⲘⲪⲂⲊϮⲈ⳩ ⲈⲚⲈ⳩ϧⲨ aren't suing over their choice of font.

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

  • icon
    xz11111000000 (profile), 19 Sep 2019 @ 4:17am

    Not surprising given their name

    Monster Energy, Monster Cables, overpriced crap from snake oil salesmen.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      E. Madge Indat, 19 Sep 2019 @ 12:34pm

      Re: Not surprising given their name

      You have a 35 month gap in comment history. Please explain.

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

  • icon
    chad hatten new york (profile), 19 Sep 2019 @ 4:22am

    No wonder it's so expensive

    Wasting money like this is a good example of why monster is so expensive

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2019 @ 8:01am

    The letter 'M' is the exclusive intellectual property of McDonald's Corporation Inc. Both of the opposing parties should be arrested and i_prisoned for infringe_ent on this trade_arked letter.

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

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 19 Sep 2019 @ 9:18am

    Why is anyone still surprised by these actions? Monster is literally right in the name of the company!

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

  • icon
    Anton Sherwood (profile), 22 Sep 2019 @ 12:55pm

    Is there an address to which I can send a letter asking simply “What the hell is wrong with you?” ?

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

    • identicon
      alternatives(), 25 Sep 2019 @ 5:51am

      Re: yes there is an address

      Lookup the names of the lawyers. Then figure out where they hold a bar card. Now read the ABA model rules and the rules for the State they are in.

      Then bargrieve them. Bonus if you take the time to look up with the state insurance regulators for who sells lawyer malpractice insurance and then copy each insurance firm a copy of the grievance.

      Yea, that IS a bit of work but hey - what price freedom?

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


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