Attorneys Convince Monster That Consumers Can Tell The Difference Between A Deer Lick And An Audio Cable

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, attorneys filed a dismissal motion on behalf of Denco, an ethanol producer in Morris, Minn. that had been selling a product called “Monster Deer Block” since 2005. What were they trying to dismiss? A trademark lawsuit from Monster Cable, of course.

Attorneys for Winthrop & Weinstine recently convinced Monster Cable that a product called “Monster Deer Block” would not cause confusion in the marketplace with its cable products.

There is a considerable difference, Winthrop attorneys argued, between a flavored salt and mineral lick designed to attract wild deer and Monster Cable’s electric cable and connectors for wiring household electronics.

We’re not so sure. They’re just so similar. We’d like to thank Monster from keeping silly consumers from trying to plug vitamins for wild animals into their home theater systems. Imagine the mess.

Inside Track: A Monster dispute is licked
[Star-Tribune](Thanks, Tom!)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Carso says:

    Has Monster Cable yet attacked Monster.com? I’d be curious to know who would come out on top in that battle.

  2. RBecho says:

    Has Monster Cable given up on trying to convince people their cable is “better” and just starting hoping to make all their money via frivolous copyright claims?

    I am not making a claim about their cable here as I have never tried it, just noticing that we get a lot of this “Monster looses claim” posts it seems.

  3. T16skyhopp says:

    fail.

  4. FatLynn says:

    No, I think they are notorious for going after small companies that they expect won’t have the resources to fight.

  5. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    Yeah, Monster Cable is one of those parasitic companies that throw lawsuits around hoping to intimidate smaller companies in to settling. What do you expect from a company that sells $10 cables for $150.

    They’ve tried to sue everyone from small audio companies. to a

  6. dorianh49 says:

    My wallet can tell the difference. The deer lick has the same audio fidelity for a fraction of the price.

  7. rabiddachshund says:

    there’s got to be some sort of “boy who cried wolf” clause in court that says you can’t just go looking for people to sue.
    Besides, “monster” is in the dictionary. If they didn’t want people to use their name they should have picked one that isn’t so generic.

  8. almondwine says:

    This is getting ridiculous. It’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that all this litigation is just Monster’s attempt to buy publicity on the cheap.

    Every time Monster sues some completely unrelated widget maker, the local newspaper writes about Monster Cable, the maker of supposedly high-end A/V cables. Then people who would otherwise only listen to the person at Crutchfield is all of a sudden aware of Monster cables. Had Monster not sued the widget maker, the customer would remain uneducated. Monster has apparently decided that no publicity is bad publicity when it comes to presenting a substitute good as a premium product.

    I think that the next court who dismisses one of the cases needs to impose a hefty fine for wasting the court’s time and resources. I think that attorney’s fees plus the annual salaries of every non-Monster-affiliated person in the courtroom at the time of the dismissal would be an appropriate start.

  9. shadowboxer524 says:

    @RBecho: Their cables are extremely marked up and are not better than those you can find at monoprice.com, my only source for a/v cables.

  10. Canino says:

    I don’t know, that cable does look delicious.

  11. Damn, that explains why I haven’t attracted any bucks. They took the cables, and went back to their dens to set up their Hi-Fi systems.

  12. Carabell says:

    @Carso: Right ? I’d love to see them try to take on monster.com, who I’m pretty sure has been around a lot longer than the brand of audio cables.

  13. mac-phisto says:

    @Carso: i think they’ve come to some sort of agreement – if you scroll down to the bottom of monster.com, you’ll come to a notice that says “©2008 Monster – All Rights Reserved – U.S. Patent No. 5,832,497 – NASDAQ:MNST Looking for Monster Cable?” which has a link, but frankly i don’t feel like giving them page hits.

  14. dry-roasted-peanuts says:

    It’s a Monster post, I’ve gotta do it:

  15. fostina1 says:

    i use salted coat hangers to lure deer.

    but seriously using the judicial system to make a living should be illegal.

  16. ratnerstar says:

    @Carabell: I rather doubt it, since Monster Cable Products was founded in 1978, when the market for web-based job databases was still, umm, emerging.

  17. Angryrider says:

    Monster? I associate that word with ugly, creature, or big.
    But hey, some people really can’t tell whether or not Monster sells deer licks or audio cable.

  18. xnihilx says:

    All I can picture is Monster Cable’s lawyers slapping a subpeona on Cookie Monster because his name infringes upon their “trademark.” “Why you sue Cookie Monster? Cookie Monster not do nothing to you.” of course this will just cause Telly (Monster) to go into obsessive worry fits over the whole debacle. Poor little Muppets.

  19. @Carso:

    Has Monster Cable yet attacked Monster.com? I’d be curious to know who would come out on top in that battle.

    Yes. Go to Monster.com, and look down at the bottom of the page and you’ll see a link that says “Looking for Monster Cable?” with a link. It was part of the settlement.

  20. papahoth says:

    @shadowboxer524: thanks, anymore cool links like that?

  21. Tmoney02 says:

    Has anyone tried using monster cables to attract deer? I think you might be surprised how effective they are.

    Just look at this deer trying to get at this guys monster cables. Got locked into the bathroom as a result…You can clearly see why monster maybe considering moving into the deer attraction business.

  22. @Carabell:

    Right ? I’d love to see them try to take on monster.com, who I’m pretty sure has been around a lot longer than the brand of audio cables.

    Uh, no. Monster Cable was around before Al Gore invented the Internet.

    And see my above post – they semi-successfully sued Monster.com already. Now they’re just picking on miniature golf courses and deer wafer makers.

  23. smirkette says:

    Yet another reason to never, ever buy Monster cables.

  24. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @Canino: If you’re a deer, then, perhaps there is a valid case after all.

  25. dweebster says:

    The big question is – when will Monster start suing coat hanger manufacturers for violating Monster Cable’s super-duper technology patents?

    If a coat hanger performs just as well as a Monster cable then sic those lawyers on all the dry cleaners and make ‘em go back to folding…

  26. TheNerd says:

    First American Airlines attacks Google, and now this? Big corporations are trying to make lots of money on the assumption that the American public is composed of morons! I’ve had enough of it, and I hope they realize that the only publicity these stunts are generating is the kind that puts a bad taste in consumer’s mouths.

  27. MrEvil says:

    Listen, if a Best Buy employee can buy monster cables for $10 or less, how good are they really? They’re just a way to make the retailers money.

  28. sir_pantsalot says:

    I was completely confused and almost bought the Monster deer lick at Circuit City until I went to check out. When the total was under $20 I knew there was a mistake. The teenager at the store helped me get the proper item so in the end I was able to be screwed by a fancy wire hanger for $100+.

    /actual results may vary if you are not a completely retarded ass hat like I am.

  29. Gokuhouse says:

    How many people really buy Monster cables? I haven’t and I honestly know nobody that has…My theory is start cheap and if that doesn’t work then move up the price range.

  30. satoru says:

    Not to defend Monster Cable but unfortunately, these companies have to do this on a nearly regular basis. This is because in order to defend your Trademark you also need to show that you are actively protecting it. Unless you can prove that, some other company can then use your trademark. Thus companies either have an internal group, or outsource it to a litany of lawyers that scour the internet, magazines, etc to find similar sounding products and sending them cease and desist letters. They always get dismissed because like in this case, there’s usually almost no overlap between the businesses so confusion would be basically non-existent. However, unless they keep doing this kind of thing, they are genuinely scared about losing their Trademark.

  31. kickarse says:

    I’m going to start a cable company called Moon Star Cables. Let’s see’em get me!

  32. snowburnt says:

    @satoru: here, here, you have to defend your trade mark or you lose it. If another cable company comes along with a name like monstar and they can prove that monster hadn’t defended their trademark, Monstar can keep the name

  33. Craig says:

    Monster Deer Block produces better sound than Monster Cables, and at a lower price. I think it’s a valid lawsuit.

  34. mac-phisto says:

    @satoru: if you read some of the past consumerist stories on monster (such as this one), you’ll discover that this isn’t just about a company protecting their trademark. this is a team of lawyers seeking to manipulate IP protection for profit.

  35. Orv says:

    @Gokuhouse: You should never underestimate the gullibility of audiophiles, although I think most of them have moved on to even more expensive options. Monster Cable and other pretty-looking but useless brands of interconnect are also really popular with the car audio set.

  36. chemmy says:

    Maybe the reason Monster cables are so friggin expensive is to cover all the attorney fees & court costs on these stupid suits.

  37. dweebster says:

    @Craig: They’ve saved a lot of bucks, too.

  38. As much as I dislike Monster cables, they are doing what every company has to do: Defend their trademark. If they don’t they will be like “aspirin”.

    Even if they lose the case, they do have to actively defend their IP.

  39. Carso says:

    Much thanks to those that pointed out the link on the Monster.com pointing to the “Monster Cable” site.

  40. illtron says:

    @Carso: I say we start sending letters to Monster Cable saying we’re confused about it, just to see if we can get them to sue Monster.com.

    They’d certainly lose, and maybe Monster.com has deep enough pockets to shut them up for a while.

  41. illtron says:

    @satoru: In other news, I heard Apple is going to sue the fruit. Serves ‘em right!

  42. bmorg003 says:

    I don’t understand! I put the cable out there like it says, but I still haven’t caught a Deer. This $100 Deer cable sucks, I’m going back the the old $20 salt lick I ued to use…

  43. Orv says:

    @illtron: Apple has been sued multiple times by Apple Records. I think they finally settled it once and for all recently.

    I think when it comes to defending a name no one is quite as nasty as the Olympic Committee, though.

  44. mariospants says:

    This story is so ludicrous that it doesn’t even need my pithy commentaire. I’m thinking that this company lacks any common sense. Consider:

    - the amount of money required to initiate a lawsuit that is destined to fail;
    - that were they to win the lawsuit it would not improve their market position or brand identity in the slightest anyway;
    - brands their company as an aggressive jackass to the owners, employees, family and friends of the numerous corporations they are suing; and
    - brands their company as a laughing stock jackass to those who watch or read about this story on every available news media that carries it.

    Maybe I’m missing something. Maybe this sensationalism is intended to be (relatively) cheap PR for Monster. It HAS brought their name into general discussion in a wide variety of medias. Are they expecting that the negative association with such a meritless lawsuit will be overcome by reminding the world that they still actually exist?

    I don’t think so.

  45. mariospants says:

    @Orv: “I think when it comes to defending a name no one is quite as nasty as the Olympic Committee, though.”

    I’d give that title to the “Academy Awardsâ„¢”. You see? I didn’t even have to enter the “TM”, they did that themselves.

  46. legwork says:

    Monster Deer Licks

    vs.

    Monster

    Dear Pricks,

    I can see where the attorneys could become confused.

  47. dweebster says:

    @mariospants: I used to hold Monster in pretty high regard until I learned better, though I still like their designs.

    After hearing they fired most of their American workforce and are suing everyone using the generic word “monster” I have not purchased anything they make. The terms “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” is certainly inaccurate, and their actions may be killing whatever good name recognition their trademark used to warrant.

  48. nadmonk says:

    I was wondering why my picture has been looking so salty.

    Seriously, the only thing Monster that I own is a surge protector. And that’s because the place I bought my TV from threw it in for free.

    But it is the best sounding power I’ve ever heard.

  49. Mr.SithNinja says:

    That would explain why I have a living room full of deer and my surround sound won’t work….

  50. Puck says:

    I don’t ever plan on eating this deer block shit, but I might have to buy some and feed it to my dog just in spite of these assholes at Monster cable.

  51. CharlieInSeattle says:

    What about Monster Energy Drink?

  52. @illtron:

    I say we start sending letters to Monster Cable saying we’re confused about it, just to see if we can get them to sue Monster.com.

    They’d certainly lose, and maybe Monster.com has deep enough pockets to shut them up for a while.

    Monster Cable’s lawsuit against Monster.com was discussed up higher in the comments. The Monster Cable link at Monster.com was part of the settlement.

    Here’s the Wikipedia listing on Monster’s litigation: [en.wikipedia.org]

  53. Oh, and Monster does own the trademark – they’ve been around for 30+ years. I don’t think the same can be said for a web-based job search site.

  54. Good article on Monster’s overly-aggressive protection of their copyright: [www.sfgate.com]

  55. Ghede says:

    Yes there is a difference. You see, the salt lick does exactly what it advertises.

  56. woodenturkey says:

    Academy Awards

  57. woodenturkey says:

    liar

  58. jdmba says:

    Don’t give them this much credit. This is standard operating procedure for a dying company industry. “If you cannot innovate, then litigate”.

    Monster is doing nothing different than the RIAA. Rather than adjust their business model (in each case), they now try to raise revenue through lawsuits.

  59. parad0x360 says:

    @Carso: Yea they did long ago. I believe there is a link to monster cables at the bottom of every monster.com page.

  60. teqjack says:

    rabiddachshund, “monster” is indeed in the dictionary.

    So is “coke,” but if you don’t capitalize it when referring to food/drink/etc (or do capitalize it when using it as a generic) be prepared to have a nasty communication from Coca Cola.

    Yeah, this seems silly, but trademark protection does have to occasionally go to extremes.

  61. draketrumpet says:

    As far as I’m concerned, any word that makes it into a standard English dictionary before being copyrighted is untouchable. The only monster I’ve seen here is monster cable and they are a pretty pathetic little monster.

  62. impetus says:

    In Monster’s defense, a deer lick can probably transmit an audio signal just as well as a Monster cable.

  63. thefastest says:
  64. __Ken__ says:

    I can’t see how this CAN make it to court? Trademarks and “names” are under categories. Like Apple records. They couldn’t do anything to Apple computer until they did the iTunes thing (they were now under the same category – music). I don’t remember if they were called categories, but you can have something called Candy in food, music and automotive and they’re all kosher. Pet food/deer lick and audio cables… wow, that’s pushing it.

    Thanks monster for wasting tax payer money for this silly suit. We should start a class action against them for frivolous waste. Didn’t they even go after cookie monster?

  65. pinkyracer says:

    wow. the frivolous attempts to keep the retained lawyers busy never end.

    What I don’t understand is why PetSmart and PetCo don’t do this to each other. I can NEVER get them straight. There’s one of each in my neighborhood and they are seriously identical to me, right down to the names and the color schemes in the logo. One of them needs to change their name. I sure miss the good old days of shopping at Collar n Leash (easily confused for the nameless? gay leather bar across the street, but neither care enough to sue).

  66. varro says:

    By Monster Cable Products(TM)’s standards, the Children’s Television Workshop should sue them out of existence, as Cookie Monster predated the cable company, and Stephen Colbert says that since Cookie Monster has decided to eat cookies in moderation, that he’s just a “Monster”.

  67. Sudonum says:

    I ate at a place called “Monster Subs” yesterday and my first thought was “does Monster Cable know about this place?” because this sandwich would make a great speaker cable.

  68. Neoprincess says:

    I live in the bay area where Monster is located. Those egomaniacs wanted to take on Pixar and Disney because of Monsters, Inc.

  69. darkryd says:

    FYI – Deer blocks aren’t placed out to provide nutrition for wild animals. They’re placed out to attract the animals for hunting.

    Place a deer block out, sit in a tree, and wait…Bang!