Monster Energy Loses Trademark Opposition As UK IPO Mentions That The Letter 'M' Isn't Distinctive

from the m-kay dept

Monster Energy: is there no trademark opposition they can't lose? The drink company, which might be more well known at this point for its trademark bullying than its beverages, has been handed loss after loss after loss after loss in trademark oppositions to everything from industrial paint manufacturers to the NBA and on to other beverage companies. Why the company spends so much time opposing trademarks is literally anyone's guess, but the losses all amount to the complete lack of potential confusion in the disputed trademark applications, as well as Monster Energy believing it can control words and images that it most certainly cannot.

The latest of these, in yet another opposition Monster Energy lost, has the UK's IPO explaining to Monster Energy that it cannot prevent other companies from using the letter "M" prominently in their logos.

In a decision on Wednesday, March 6, the UK IP Office ruled that Monster Energy could not stop Robert Marchington from registering a trademark, finding there was no likelihood of confusion.

In its opposition, Monster relied on its earlier registered marks (EU numbers 2439068; 3227041; 12924973 and 14226765) which depict animal or monster scratch marks that create the letter ‘M’. The mark was for a pair of legs which took the shape of the letter ‘M’ and seemed to be taking a step forward.

In its decision the IPO said Marchington’s applied-for mark and Monster’s trademarks were visually similar only to a low degree. It said that the presence of the letter ‘M’ in both parties’ marks “does not convey any particular meaning”.

The fact that Monster Energy needed to be told as much serves as a wonderful barometer for how ridiculous Monster Energy trademark oppositions generally are. Again, when it comes to trademark law, the entire point is to prevent public confusion as to the source of goods. Monster Energy's logo is indeed distinctive, as it makes the letter "M" out of claw marks. This does not somehow grant exclusivity to the letter "M" to Monster Energy, however. Legs and clawmarks, in other words, are different.

As are the markets of soft drinks and alcohol, according to the IPO.

“Whilst soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are similar in nature in that they are both liquids for consumption, consumers will consider them to be different categories of goods,” the IPO said.

Additionally, it said that “syrups and preparations”, covered by Machington’s mark, cannot be considered a finish drink product, and therefore will not be in competition with Monster’s beverages.

I continue to be baffled as to how paying all of these billable hours, or the salaries and benefits for the in-house legal team, just to handle the load of trademark oppositions that routinely end up as losses, makes any financial sense.

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Filed Under: m, robert marchington, trademark, uk
Companies: monster energy

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 7:09pm

    Gentlemen, leash your lawyers

    And this is why you always keep your lawyers on a tight leash, not only can they easily rack up the billable hours, they can also make it so that any time someone thinks of your company the first thought to come to mind isn't your product, it's your history of legal thuggery.

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

  • icon
    Shaun Wilson (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 10:10pm

    Financial sense for whom?

    While you are likely correct that this continued legal action doesn't make sense for the company as a whole or it's shareholders, there is one group for whom it almost certainly does make financial sense - the lawyers themselves. Odds are that any halfway competent lawyer would have the skills to "explain" that either the courts are wrong to rule against them and/or that they need to take on these fights regardless. What is likely harder would be to explain why they need their job if all they do is occasionally report to management that everything is fine and they don't need to sue anyone.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Mar 2019 @ 11:22pm

    Hamilton and Jhon Smith losing their shit in 3, 2, 1...

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    tammylawry (profile), 18 Mar 2019 @ 11:33pm


    I wish you could post such blogs on the almost daily basis. But such good blogs obviously take some time to be written. I will keep on visiting your blog on a daily basis.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Mar 2019 @ 8:09am

    Trademark a single letter?
    Reminds me of the color orange.

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

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