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The Monster at the End of This Beer
October 14, 2009 10:18 AM   Subscribe

Last month, the makers of Monster Energy Drink (Warning: Flash, Ads) sent a cease and desist letter (PDF) to Rock Art Brewery, makers of The Vermonster beer. Brewer Matt Nadeau plans to fight back, even though such a fight would be nasty, time consuming, and very, very expensive.

This is not the only time a company with Monster in its name got litigious over the use of the word Monster, nor is it even the only product named The Vermonster!
posted by robocop is bleeding (79 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Beer is my energy drink.
posted by box at 10:27 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Monster still owe me a cable. I filled out there internet form for a free firewire cable. They never sent it. Bastards.

As far as the name thing, this is trademark, so isn't he covered under prior art or whatever it's called under trademark law?

I'm off to write a couple letters.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:30 AM on October 14, 2009


What is it about companies using the name 'monster'? Is it some bizarre attempt to identify with their brand?
posted by anigbrowl at 10:32 AM on October 14, 2009


Wow, fuck Monster Energy Drink.

In other news, I and friend did indeed finish off an entire Ben and Jerry's Vermonster, just the two of us. The ride home was the most appallingly nauseating subway ride I have ever taken in my life.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:32 AM on October 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Jesus, I am an illiterate. How come stuff always looks fine until you hit Post Comment? Still owes and their!

And if Matt thinks Monster is bad, wait until Vermont finds out he's using their name too! Their gonna want licensing.

Seriously, trademark and patent law and the commons are so messed up anymore.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:34 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Monster Cable vs. Monster Energy Drink: Whoever wins, we lose.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:35 AM on October 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


I guess I need to find a new caffeine source. Yeah, fuck Monster.
posted by notsnot at 10:36 AM on October 14, 2009


This is exactly how all the inhabitants of Monster Island went extinct.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:37 AM on October 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Wow, so now Rockstar is out (ties to Michael Savage, aka Weiner), Amp is out (previously on MeFi), and Monster is out. Is Red Bull still OK? Does Flugtag or whatever it's called hurt puppies?

My wife is not going to like this. She's going to have to change caffeinated heart-hurting horror drinks again.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:38 AM on October 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the more I read on his site, the less this makes sense. Monster wants him to stop because they may enter into the alcohol market. How dumb. Are you there now? No? Then pick a name that isn't already taken.

Sometimes these cases aren't even about Monster caring about the name, but protecting their trademark. An undefended trademark can become a generic term. Still stupid.

Matt should change the name to the Vermunster and see if Herman sues him.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:39 AM on October 14, 2009


I'm already boycotting Amp and Rockstar, mostly because they taste like bitter sugar water. Coffee was made to taste bitter, although I know it's probably evil, too.

Maybe all the caffeine just makes corporations jittery dicks.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:40 AM on October 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


Man, I bought some Rock Art bombers at a co-op in Brattleboro when I was up there. Wasn't crazy about the imperials, but the jasmine pale ale was pretty nice.

Almost makes me wish I drank Monster just so I could stop drinking it.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:40 AM on October 14, 2009


This isn't so outlandish. One company has a trademark on the use of "Monster" for beverages. Another company is now trying to use "monster" for beverages. It is very likely that will lead to confusion among consumers about whether Vermonster comes from the same company as Monster energy drink.

Think of it this way. What if the Monster energy drink company wants to sell a beer called Monster Beer? They couldn't because there is already a beer with that name, Vermonster. So in that situation, the company that had the name first now can't continue to use it.

This is not at all the case with Monster Cable and Monster Energy drink. No consumer would think that a company that makes AV cables is also selling energy drinks.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:40 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


fiercecupcake - everyone I work with swears by 5-Hour-Energy drinks. They buy em by the caseload. I'm eagerly anticipating the news that, like, the founder buries live kittens for sexual pleasure, or something.
posted by muddgirl at 10:41 AM on October 14, 2009


Pastabagel, I agree, but their is more to branding than just a name. There is no way, at even a casual glance, to confuse the brands. And I don't see the names as being that close really. It's as close to Vermonter as it is to Monster (thus the mash up), but it's not like he's out and out calling it Monster Beer.

And if Monster did come out with that, see my first argument. I can't see people confusing the two.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:47 AM on October 14, 2009


I wonder how many more people now know of Vermonster, and how many people will buy it? How much would be enough to balance out a lawsuit against Monster? And really, would you want to call your alcoholic drink "Vermonster"? It's only appealing to people who enjoy the great (yet tiny) state of Vermont.

Also: Monster is a really generic name. Unfortunately, this sort of idiocy is not new. See: Microsoft v. Lindows
posted by filthy light thief at 10:48 AM on October 14, 2009


Also, everyone mainlining these energy drinks needs to be aware that in addition to the ordinary dangers of excessive consumption of caffeine, excessive consumption of B vitamins and taurine can be toxic.

Note that a 16 oz can of Monster Energy drink has roughly 3.5 times the caffeine of a 12-oz Diet Coke, and that doctors recommend drinking no more than 3 cans a day.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:50 AM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is exactly why I only smoke Mexican ice.
posted by The Straightener at 10:55 AM on October 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm going to trademark the word The.
posted by mattbucher at 10:56 AM on October 14, 2009


For some reason, I associate drinking energy drinks with spitting on the sidewalk and smoking while pregnant.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 10:56 AM on October 14, 2009 [6 favorites]


"It is very likely that will lead to confusion among consumers about whether Vermonster comes from the same company as Monster energy drink."

Only if you are a complete imbecile. And if you are really that stupid, I suspect you're very use to confusion. Seriously? You actually think, really and truly, that anyone smart enough to not require institutional care would think a beer from a Vermont craft brewery called Vermonster is actually Monster energy drink beer?
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:56 AM on October 14, 2009 [9 favorites]


Monster Cable vs. Monster Energy Drink: Whoever wins, we lose.

Nonsense. It should be a deathmatch. That way we'll be rid of one of them, right? That's progress.
posted by rokusan at 10:56 AM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I wonder how many more people now know of Vermonster, and how many people will buy it?

One more now than five minutes ago, and I will be looking for this stuff.

Hmmm, beeeer....
posted by IndigoJones at 10:56 AM on October 14, 2009


Also: Monster is a really generic name. Unfortunately, this sort of idiocy is not new. See: Microsoft v. Lindows
posted by filthy light thief at 1:48 PM on October 14


First monster is not at all generic as applied to beverages. Before Monster energy drinks, did anyone refer to a drink of any kind as a 'monster'? People use monster as an adjective to modify a noun ("a monster-sized soda"), but the term monster is not generically used to identify anything other than, well, monsters.

Microsoft v. Lindows is a different situation. In that case, whereas when Microsoft started using Windows, the term could arguably have been a weak mark for graphical operating systems which include windows, Microsoft was arguing that the term has since become famous and distinctive, and Windows in the software context refers to Microsoft's particular product. (That's their argument, not mine).
posted by Pastabagel at 10:57 AM on October 14, 2009


Can you find these craft brews in every 7-11 on the planet? I didn't think so. Monster Energy Drink can suck a pile of dicks. I hope some sane judge throws this dog of a case out and forces them to pay the legal expenses of this Vermont entrepreneur. Goddamn lawyers.
posted by VicNebulous at 10:58 AM on October 14, 2009


Almost makes me wish I drank Monster just so I could stop drinking it.

I already boycott all energy drinks because they're fucking revolting.
posted by dersins at 11:00 AM on October 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


One more now than five minutes ago, and I will be looking for this stuff.

I'm with you. Beer drinking activism.
posted by clearly at 11:01 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


> I'm already boycotting Amp and Rockstar, mostly because they taste like bitter sugar water.

Back in August I had to make a fairly lengthy late-night drive along a stretch of highway in Quebec that didn't have any open coffee shops, so I bought a couple of Red Bulls at a gas station. Not only did they taste like cough syrup gone bad, but I didn't get nearly as high off the caffeine as I do from coffee. No more energy drinks for me.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:02 AM on October 14, 2009


really, would you want to call your alcoholic drink "Vermonster"? It's only appealing to people who enjoy the great (yet tiny) state of Vermont

Craft brew beers, especially from very small breweries, don't tend to be distributed outside of their surrounding region. So if your beer is only on tap in bars in Vermont, it can help separate your beer from the crowd to distinguish itself as actually being from Vermont.

What if the Monster energy drink company wants to sell a beer called Monster Beer? They couldn't because there is already a beer with that name, Vermonster. So in that situation, the company that had the name first now can't continue to use it.

There is a huge number of individual craft brew beers, and a lot of those beer names are very similar. For example, there are dozens of beer names that actually have the word Monster in them. People who buy craft beer are smart enough to figure out the difference between a beer from Rock Art called Vermonter and another random alcoholic beverage from the company that makes crappy energy drinks.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:03 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Only if you are a complete imbecile....that anyone smart enough to not require institutional care would think a beer from a Vermont craft brewery called Vermonster is actually Monster energy drink beer?
posted by y6y6y6 at 1:56 PM on October 14


Funny you should say that, because the test for trademark confusion in most of the world is the affectionately named "moron in a hurry" test.

But the test in the US is considerably more complex. This is the test. Not particularly the test's consideration of phonetic similarity, common selling channels, overlapping customer bases, etc.

I'm not saying they will win the case, but the case isn't particularly preposterous. And fighting it is idiotic. Trademark suits cost a fortune, primarily because you have to commission market research studies to prove confusion or the lack thereof. They should come up with a better brand name that plays off the Rock Art concept (which "monster" doesn't).
posted by Pastabagel at 11:06 AM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Though they're not always smart enough to distinguish between craft beers and, say, Blue Moon or Shock Top. Or else they just don't care.
posted by box at 11:07 AM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Brooklyn Brewery makes a Monster Ale.
posted by yeti at 11:10 AM on October 14, 2009


Doesn't Cookie Monster have some sort of prior art claim here? He's practically the originator of the consuming-product-then-spazzing-out angle of marketing that energy drink companies engage in.
posted by electroboy at 11:11 AM on October 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Now I'm sure that someone, somewhere, will sue Rock Art for using Kocapelli on their logo. Or is it in the public domain after 3000 years?

For the record, I don't drink Monster Energy Drink, I don't use Monster cables, and prefer a hoppy beer to those that are heavily malted. Regardless, I'd drink a Vermonster if I had the chance - and may drive up to Vermont just for that opportunity (any excuse for a beer).
posted by Man with Lantern at 11:13 AM on October 14, 2009


People who buy craft beer are smart enough to figure out the difference between a beer from Rock Art called Vermonter and another random alcoholic beverage from the company that makes crappy energy drinks.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:03 PM on October 14


You're misunderstanding. The test is not whether craft beer connoisseurs would be confused. The test is whether consumers in general, any consumers would be.

As to there being lots of beer companies with Monster in the title, well, I didn't know this. But now that I do, my immediate questions are:

1. How many of these beers's use of 'monster' in their name predates the use on Monster Energy Drink?

2. As to why Rock Art is singled out: How many use a single compound word that incorporates 'monster', versus the word monster separately? Vermonster vs. "Brooklyn Monster Ale". In the latter case, how many have the word "monster" as the second word in the name?

I don't know the answers to the questions, and am too bored to check. Keep in mind that Monster Energy's real objective here is to prevent the use of the word monster in beverages from becoming so commonplace that another energy drink company can use it in their name (hypothetically "Red Bull Monster"). The entire value of the Monster Energy Drink company (the company that makes it) is the brand. The product is not particularly unique or distinctive. They don't have some patented manufacturing process to make it. They license the formula to bottlers - they don't actually manufacture it themselves.

If the brand is perceived as weak, the value of the company plummets.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:16 AM on October 14, 2009


Perhaps they should add tea to their beer and call it Vermontster.

Just spitballin' here.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:19 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


First monster is not at all generic as applied to beverages. Before Monster energy drinks, did anyone refer to a drink of any kind as a 'monster'?

Actually yes. Brooklyn Brewery has a beer they call Monster Ale. This is more similar than the Vermonster in name, but Brooklyn has been making it since the late 90s, before Monster Energy Drink even came into being. So they shouldn't just be able to blindly expand their trademarks and push everyone out.
posted by tehdiplomat at 11:20 AM on October 14, 2009


Dammit, I love Monster. What if I drink one of those Vermont beers for each one I drink to make up for it?
posted by JoanArkham at 11:21 AM on October 14, 2009


This is why they wouldn't develop my awesome baseball video game, "Roger Clemen's Baseball".
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 11:21 AM on October 14, 2009


Also, thanks to this thread, I now know that:

(a) 'trampoline' was once a trademarked term that has become generic,
(b) Diet Pepsi has 20% less caffeine than Diet Coke, and
(c) taurine is a major constituent in human bile.

Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by Pastabagel at 11:21 AM on October 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


personally, i'll hold out for the monster (sour) mash.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 11:21 AM on October 14, 2009


There's a room in hell next to the furnace reserved for those who bankrupt microbrewers with stupid legal disputes.
posted by mullingitover at 11:25 AM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Before Monster energy drinks, did anyone refer to a drink of any kind as a 'monster'?

Yes. There's the Green Monster, which, during the summer I spent in Boston, consisted of apple vodka, Midori, and hard cider (or, if we were really schookered, Pabst). This was referred to universally as "moster" or "the monster," and drank while watching Red Sox games in your early 20s.

Additionally, there's the Cookie Monster, which is baileys, kahlua, and 151 served over ice. "When you get to the bar, order your date a monster" was some advice from a sketchy friend that I declined to put into practice.

Finally, there was an enormous beer bong somewhere in college that was called The Monster, and it imparted the quality of 'monster-ness' to anything that was poured into it.

other, non-drink items referred to as monster include Monster.com, the film Monsters inc., actual horror story monsters, Monster brand trail mix, and my penis.
posted by Jon_Evil at 11:25 AM on October 14, 2009


Green Monster in Boston - doesn't that refer to the baseball field there (or somewhere)?
Cookie Monster - obviously playing off the character.

Actually reviewing the wiki page for Hansen Natural, the company that sells Monster, I learned two very relevant things. First, Hansen is a public company, which means under certain laws and regulations, it may be obligated to file suit against trademark infringers because the value of the brand is such an important and material component of the company's business and revenues (preserving the value of a key asset, etc).

Second, Brooklyn Brewery has a use which predates Monster's, but it doesn't not appear to be sold outside of NY, which diminishes its usefulness as an example of prior use somewhat. Maybe this is why people were mentioning Brooklyn Brewery upthread, but I didn't understand the relevance.

Also, I'd investigate why Brooklyn Brewery is using the term "monster". Is there some local landmark or story relating to a "Brooklyn Monster"?

In any case, it should be clear that this is not a cut and dry case of corporate bullshit.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:39 AM on October 14, 2009


A quick search of Beer Advocate listings shows 32 beers with "Monster" in their name. Six of those are called "Hop Monster."

I can't remember the name of the beer(s) in question at the moment (too sober), but I remember reading about two breweries each having a beer with the same name. Rather than calling out the lawyers, they instead decided to combine the two for a special edition release. Argh. That's going to bother me!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:41 AM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Green Monster in Boston - doesn't that refer to the baseball field there (or somewhere)

It refers specifically to that huge wall in the outfield at Fenway Park.
posted by hippybear at 11:47 AM on October 14, 2009


Robocop - That was Avery and Russian River Brewing which both make beers called Salvation. They got together and brewed (several times) now a beer called "Collaboration, Not Litigation"

And you know, I wish I drank Monster too, just to quit. But then again, I'd quit anything before I give up my beloved craft beer. (Damn shame, I like some of the other Hansen products.. oh well)
posted by drewbage1847 at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ah, that's it! Thank you, you just saved me hours of frustrated googling.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:54 AM on October 14, 2009


No problem! I wish I knew all the answers that well.

Seriously one of the things that galls me the most is that even at the largest "micros" there's still a sense of kids throwing together the afternoon play with sheets as capes. Legal stuff like this just pisses all over that concept. No matter what Matt does he's bound to have some of the wind sucked right out of his sails (hopefully not his sales though). If he caves and changes the name then he's sacrificed his principles and that's like a cancer always gnawing away at your bones. If he fights then he'll be exhausted with an empty tank of passion for a business that's already tough and razor thin.

Hopefully, Hansen's will treat this like bad PR kyrptonite and drop it, blaming overzealous lawyers attempting to protect the brand.
posted by drewbage1847 at 12:01 PM on October 14, 2009


You're misunderstanding. The test is not whether craft beer connoisseurs would be confused. The test is whether consumers in general, any consumers would be.

I don't know who would/will win in a trademark dispute court case. I was specifically responding to this quote:

What if the Monster energy drink company wants to sell a beer called Monster Beer? They couldn't because there is already a beer with that name, Vermonster. So in that situation, the company that had the name first now can't continue to use it.

If the Monster energy drink company wants to sell a beer with Monster in the name (which they don't), they can, just like everyone else who sells a beer with Monster in the name. Similar names have not stopped the multitude of craft breweries like Rock Art from selling their beer.

The fact that Monster's brand is weak and/or confusing is mostly their own fault for picking such a common word (and spelling of that word) as their brand name. As you said, the whole lawsuit is designed to prevent other companies from using their arbitrary English word brand name, rather than to actually prevent confusion over some regional beer with a similar name to their hypothetical competing beer. In my opinion it's a huge company in one industry abusing a set of laws to stop a much smaller company in an unrelated industry from using their own brand.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:02 PM on October 14, 2009


WCAX has a bit more info on the C&D letter:
The "cease and desist" letter demands Rock Art stop selling its Vermonster beer, drop its effort to get a federal trademark for the name, and pay Hansen's lawyer fees. The letter says Monster has worked hard to establish its brand and Rock Arts use of the name Vermonster "will undoubtedly create a likelihood of confusion and/or dilute the distinctive quality of Hansen's Monster marks."
(Emphasis mine)

If the WCAX article is correct, it seems that Rock Art's efforts to trademark Vermonster as their own might be the issue, and how Hansen Beverage Company (makers of Hansen's Natural Sodas and Blue Sky Soda, amongst other things) must defend their trademark unless it becomes a genericized trademark (thanks to Pastabagel for the tip).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:04 PM on October 14, 2009


It seems like he's getting really shitty legal advice. $65,000 for each case? Does the defendant in civil suits automatically have to pay court costs?

My approach would be to fight it personally, using Nolo.com and whatever else is online, and then try to possibly find a lawyer that will let you pay for help as needed.

Sure, he'll probably lose and look like an idiot, but it lets him fight the good fight without spending too much money. It would obviously help a lot if he had a friend who was a lawyer.

But, honestly, aside from the legal fees, what other expenses does the defendant face? IAONAL.

On preview: I didn't see the part about trying to trademark Vermonster. He should just drop that and see if that fixes the problem.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:11 PM on October 14, 2009


Very conflicted here for personal reasons. On the one hand, as a small-business owner myself, few things gall me quite like watching a defenseless small business get bullied by a much larger corporation with far greater resources.

On the other hand, Monster in one of the few major corporations headquartered in the podunk area I happen to live in, so there is some inherent loyalty there.
posted by The Gooch at 12:15 PM on October 14, 2009


Major love from me for the "The Monster at the End of This..." post title.

You should trademark it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:21 PM on October 14, 2009


Pastabagel: Second, Brooklyn Brewery has a use which predates Monster's, but it doesn't not appear to be sold outside of NY, which diminishes its usefulness as an example of prior use somewhat. Maybe this is why people were mentioning Brooklyn Brewery upthread, but I didn't understand the relevance.

It is definitely distributed outside of New York state, as I have purchased it without being in New York state.

Pastabagel: Also, I'd investigate why Brooklyn Brewery is using the term "monster". Is there some local landmark or story relating to a "Brooklyn Monster"?

The beer isn't "Brooklyn Monster," the beer is "Monster Ale;" the same way it isn't "Anchor Steam," but rather "Steam" is the name of a beer offered by Anchor Brewing. As to why "monster," the scale on which it is (and all barley wines are) brewed is a monster scale. This is, by the way, the same exact reason that the Vermonster has 'monster' incorporated in its name, as it too is a barley wine. Or, in keeping with the litigiousness of this thread, a "barley wine-style ale."
posted by paisley henosis at 12:21 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Green Monster in Boston - doesn't that refer to the baseball field there (or somewhere)

It refers specifically to that huge wall in the outfield at Fenway Park.


And the Red Sox official mascot is Wally the Green Monster.
posted by ericb at 12:21 PM on October 14, 2009


MetaMonsterFilter
posted by blue_beetle at 12:21 PM on October 14, 2009


At least three major retailers (that I know of) here in the greater Burlington, VT area have already stopped carrying all Hansen products. Gotta love Vermonters - We don't take too kindly when someone messes with one of our own (especially if it has to do with our beer)!
posted by brand-gnu at 12:23 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I sent Matt $5 to support him, wrote a letter to Monster Energy Drinks, and one to their lawyer. My work here is done.

Earlier I went to the Monster site and their "About" page was how they are all rebels and puck rock, and snowboarders, and hate the 9 to 5 gig. I was going to cut and past some of it here, since having lawyers crush a beer craftsman seems pretty anti-punk rock.

Now the page says, "Sorry, we are currently updating our site. Check back in a bit! Sorry, we are currently updating our site. Check back in a bit!"
posted by cjorgensen at 12:26 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love Grover.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:29 PM on October 14, 2009


Green Monster in Boston - doesn't that refer to the baseball field there (or somewhere)

It refers specifically to that huge wall in the outfield at Fenway Park.


Green Monsta Ale (Wachusett Brewing, Princeton MA) is popular here in Central MA and also out towards Boston, but there is also Green Monster Hoppy Ale (Paper City Brewing, Holyoke, MA). I haven't seen the Green Monster lately, but maybe this is why...
posted by rollbiz at 12:31 PM on October 14, 2009


Dear Rock Art Brewery,

We at Hansen's beverage corporation would like you to cease and desist marketing your "Vermonster" energy drink as we have trademarked the Monster name associated with our antifreeze resembling energy drink.

At Hansen's, we are committed to beneficial relationships with our fellow bevergeries, and would like to suggest some possible names in the same vein as "Vermonster" and closely related in geographic origin:

Delewarewolf

That is all. If you do not cease and desist marketing your beer as Vermonster, we will launch a never ending series of legal proceedings by our legal team fueled by Monster™ brand energy drink.
posted by clearly at 12:35 PM on October 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Delewarewolf

Homicidal Maineiac
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:42 PM on October 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


I just put them on notice via twitter: @MonsterArmy: I'm not buying any more of your overpriced cables until you drop your trademark suit against the vermont microbrewer.
posted by mullingitover at 12:53 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Finally, there was an enormous beer bong somewhere in college that was called The Monster, and it imparted the quality of 'monster-ness' to anything that was poured into it.

I would like to offer myself up for trademark / brand recognition testing. I will be your moron-in-a-hurry.
posted by mannequito at 1:00 PM on October 14, 2009


Pastabagel: "Funny you should say that, because the test for trademark confusion in most of the world is the affectionately named "moron in a hurry" test.

But the test in the US is considerably more complex. This is the test. Not particularly the test's consideration of phonetic similarity, common selling channels, overlapping customer bases, etc.
"

Cool stuff, worth saving. Thanks PB.
posted by JHarris at 1:04 PM on October 14, 2009


New Vampshire?
sorry
posted by Zaximus at 1:05 PM on October 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hansen's insists this Vermonster is infringing because they might later enter into the alcoholic energy drink market? Didn't Miller already attempt this with Sparks and it was killed (sadly)?
posted by parmanparman at 2:13 PM on October 14, 2009


Yeah, AB made one too at some point. If memory serves, they were accused of marketing it to children.
posted by box at 2:50 PM on October 14, 2009


A-B's offering was called B2E and it was nasty in it's little thin version of a Red Bull can with a Tab color scheme. Bleck.

Oddly, knowing A-B, they're probably still producing it, albeit in very reduced quantities. Although really these days they're all about the brand "extension" of Bud Light.
posted by drewbage1847 at 3:12 PM on October 14, 2009


Hansen's insists this Vermonster is infringing because they might later enter into the alcoholic energy drink market?

As Pastabagel so thoroughly points out, this doesn't seem like anything more than corporate business as usual. The legal department probably automatically looked around for anyone with a similar product to notify when the idea to come out with an alcoholic energy drink line was pitched. It isn't necessarily a mega-corporation trying to muscle out the little guy.

But on the face of it, it still seems ridiculous. We all know Monster 'planning to enter the alcoholic beverage market' likely means they will churn out another tired alco-pop energy drink clone a la Sparks, Rockstar 21, Four, Tilt, Joose, etc. I somehow doubt they are toying with entering the craft beer market.

What worries me is the phrase 'planning to.' Can you really run a small business into court and have a case decided based on vague claims about what you might do in the future? When it comes to proving or disproving trademark confusion, wouldn't they actually, ya know, need a product to test?
posted by Avelwood at 3:44 PM on October 14, 2009


As a dedicated caffeine junkie (like, seriously, I get headaches if I go more than four or five hours without the stuff, seriously I need to cut back severely but it's been this way long enough that it's easier to just keep on keeping on), I like Nos, though the sugar content's higher than I'm comfortable with drinking more frequently than "once in a while".
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:46 PM on October 14, 2009


Reminds me of the unfortunate Starbucks vs. Star Bock brouhaha.
posted by bwanabetty at 6:44 PM on October 14, 2009


Second, Brooklyn Brewery has a use which predates Monster's, but it doesn't not appear to be sold outside of NY, which diminishes its usefulness as an example of prior use somewhat.

For the record, here in Connecticut we get both Brooklyn Brewery and Rock Art. I distinctly remember Rock Art because it has that logo that's on all my brother's climbing stuff.

Monster Ale is a pretty serious beer, btw. Not exactly made for mass consumption. An 11.8% Barleywine.
posted by smackfu at 7:31 PM on October 14, 2009


Arch. Can we just kill them and shit down their fucking gollum like corporate throats?
posted by Not Supplied at 5:40 AM on October 15, 2009


not just Monster energy drinks but all of THEM
posted by Not Supplied at 5:41 AM on October 15, 2009


Follow-up: GOOD GUYS WIN!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:38 AM on October 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


THATS PRETTY GOOD NEWS ON THIS MOST SPECIAL OF DAY!!!!!!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:44 AM on October 22, 2009


It must have been my letters. I'm taking credit for this one and you can't stop me.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:26 AM on October 25, 2009


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