We thought that the company behind Monster Energy drink (and its lawyers) were done with petty legal action against anyone bold enough to use the word “Monster.” We last reported on such action in 2009. Turns out that the, uh, monster was only sleeping, though, and the company has re-emerged to issue a cease and desist order to an aquarium keepers’ forum, Monster Fishkeepers. That site has owned their trademark since 2005, but Monster Energy apparently claims to own the word “monster.” And the letter “M.”
Old-school Consumerist readers will remember that suing anyone attempting to name a product or company using the word “Monster” used to be the job of Monster Cable. We kept waiting for Monster Cable and the owner of Monster Energy Company to sue each other in a recursive loop of billable hours that would keep each other out of other companies’ way, but it never happened.
And so they’ve gone after the Monster Aquaria Network, assuming that cans of energy drink and massive aquaria filled with rare fish are pretty much the same thing and that consumers will get confused.
Here’s the message posted on a blog asking site users and other interested parties to help:
On February 24, Monster Energy Company sent a cease & desist letter to MonsterFishKeepers.com in regards to their use of the marks MonsterFishKeepers, and the MonsterFishKeepers “M” symbol in connection with clothing, accessories, and stickers. It also requires us to drop the trademark applications that were pending at the time for said trademarks. Monster Energy claimed that the use of these marks constituted trademark infringement and would cause confusion with their own MONSTER™, MONSTER ENERGY®, and MONSTER “Claw M®” marks. MonsterFishKeepers.com asserted that an informed consumer would be unlikely to mistake the two brands as one is specifically marketed towards the keepers of large fishes in specialized online sites & aquarium stores while the other is more openly marketed in sports-related facilities and traditional retail stores.
Later on, Monster Energy sent a series of demands including, but not limited to, abandoning the trademark applications for the MonsterFishKeepers “M” symbol marks as well as ceasing to use those marks in connection with apparel & accessories, refraining from using or applying for any marks containing the word “Monster” or the letter “M,” refraining from using the colors black & green on any MonsterFishKeepers.com or Monster Aquaria Network Websites or in connection with apparel & accessories, and pay Monster Energy Corporation its attorneys’ fees in connection with this matter. MonsterFishKeepers.com has no intention of agreeing to the bulk of Monster’s demands as these terms are extremely restrictive & unfair, not to mention downright ridiculous in some cases.
As you know, we have been using our MonsterFishKeepers and the MonsterFishKeepers “M” design marks since March 30, 2005 and the marks were duly registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since October 23, 2007. We strongly believe that the law is on MonsterFishKeepers.com’s side, but MonsterFishKeepers.com will not be able to fund the legal proceedings that would be needed to resolve this dispute with Monster Energy. Unfortunately for MonsterFishKeepers.com, Monster Energy can file an unlimited number of appeals even if MonsterFishKeepers.com wins the first round of the case; in the end, Monster Energy would certainly outlast MonsterFishKeepers.com in the legal proceedings after MonsterFishKeepers.com runs out of money since there is no way that such a small company could compete with such a large company in terms of legal fees. As such, we, the staff of the Monster Aquaria Network, ask that you, the reader & MonsterFishKeepers.com member & supporter, help us to convince Monster Energy Corporation to drop this issue immediately. We intend to contact them via any means possible to let them know that this is not acceptable as well as hit them at the bottom line by boycotting all Monster Energy Corporation products. We would greatly appreciate it if you would take a small amount of time out of your day to let Monster Energy know that what they’re doing is not going to be well regarded/well perceived by us as consumers of their soft drink products.
In closing, we thank you for your continued support, and we hope that we will be able to enjoy many more years of fish-filled fun once this issue is resolved.
Silly legal action from Monster Energy has been brought down due to consumer outcry before, such as when they pursued a Vermont craft brewery that served up a beer called Vermonster.
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