from the monster-monster-monster-monster-monster dept
The company Monster Cable has a rather infamous reputation for way too aggressively trying to enforce its trademark on the word “monster.” It’s sued or threatened just about everyone, including the TV show Monster Garage, a clothing store called MonsterVintage, Disney for the movie Monsters, Inc., the makers of Monster Energy drink, the Chicago Bears for having the nickname “Monsters of the Midway,” and the Boston Red Sox for offering “Monster seats” on top of their famous “Green Monster” wall. The latest, sent in by reader Ben S., is that the target is now Monster Mini Golf in California.
Now, because this always comes up in the comments on posts like this, let’s address the key point that people always bring up, claiming that Monster “has to” enforce its trademark or face the mark becoming generic (like aspirin, kleenex or band-aids). That’s not quite true. It is true that you have to enforce the mark — but only in cases where it’s likely to confuse people or dilute your mark in the area it’s designed for. A trademark does not give you total control over the word. It is not designed as a “property right” but really as a consumer protection statute, to prevent people from getting confused and believing that one company or product is sponsoring another. That’s why we have the lovely “moron in a hurry” test. If a moron in a hurry wouldn’t be confused, then there’s no violation. And I have a hard time believing that any moron (even one in a hurry) would see a mini-golf course and assume that it’s associated with the company that makes ridiculously expensive tv cables.