Monster Energy Goes After Autobody Shop Because Of It's 'M' Logo And Use Of Green Color

from the monster-mash dept

For regular readers of Techdirt, Monster Energy is one of those companies that need only appear in the headline of a post before the reader knows that said post will be about some ridiculous trademark bullying Monster is doing. The company has a reputation for being about as belligerent on trademark matters as it could possibly be, lobbing lawsuits and trademark oppositions as though the company lawyers had literally nothing else to do with their time. And, while many, many, many of these bullying attempts fail when the merits are considered, the fact is that the bullying still often succeeds in its goal to use the massive Monster Energy coffers to bully victims into either submission or corporate death.

The really frustrating part in all of this is how often Monster Energy attempts to trademark bully companies that aren't remotely competing in their market. One recent example of this is Monster going after MPT Autobody in South Carolina. For disclosure, one of the founders of MPT reached out to me personally to inform me of exactly what was going on. Based on our conversation and what I can see in public records, the order of events appears to go something like this:

  1. MPT Autobody submits an application to trademark its name and branding (pictures will be below)
  2. Monster Energy opposes the application, citing that MPT's branding in part includes a stylized "M" and the color "green" and will therefore confuse the public into thinking it's associated with Monster Energy
  3. After consulting with a lawyer, MPT Autobody drops the application, intending to simply do business without the trademark
  4. Despite that, Monster Energy then sends a C&D notice, arguing that the continued use of "M"s and "green" constitutes copyright infringement, along with a demand that MPT pay Monster Energy's attorney's fees

I have embedded the entire C&D notice below so you can go see the details for yourself. That said, let's start with a couple of facts at the top of all of this. Monster Energy does not have the right to block other companies from using the letter "M" in their branding. Monster Energy also does not have the right to block other companies from using the colors green or black in their branding. Monster Energy also generally does not have the right to block other companies from using green or black "M"s in their branding.

And, yet, simply because Monster Energy sponsors some auto race activities, its letter claims exactly that and, as a result, it includes in its letter the following pictures as to what will confuse the public.

Now, if any of that branding out in the wild brings to mind Monster Energy, you need help. And keep in mind that for all of Monster Energy's reference to its sponsorship of trucks and cars, it is not in the autobody industry. Given that, there is a hell of a high bar to climb to prove that any of this is infringement.

All of which may end up being besides the point. MPT is going to have hefty bills on its hands if it wants to fight this out, even as it seems to be trying to play nicely with Monster Energy as much as it can. For instance, the company's site now has a disclaimer on it, noting that they are not affiliated with Monster Energy. The company is also looking into the potential of using a different shade of green on branding, though it's anyone's guess if that would satisfy Monster Energy. The trademark app has been withdrawn.

But trademark bullies are never satisfied with that sort of thing. Instead, they want to grind their victims into the ground. Here's hoping that doesn't end up being the case with MPT Autobody.

Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: monster, trademark, trademark bullies
Companies: monster energy, mpt autobody


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Thread


  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2021 @ 8:46pm

    As a typeface designer, I'm personally offended that Monster thinks their ugly jagged, custom M logo is anything like the M of the autobody shop logo.

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

  2. identicon
    Pixelation, 25 Feb 2021 @ 9:00pm

    There needs to be punishment for companies like Monster that abuse their Trademarks. They should lose them.

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

  3. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Feb 2021 @ 10:24pm

    Meanwhile Congress is screaming how tech companies are killing off competitors by buying them... but an energy drink company has harmed small businesses across all markets is allowed to keep running wild claiming that anything that remotely looks like an M & is any shade of green would confuse their customers...
    I really want to watch one of these brain trust customers try to pop the top of a car & drink it.

    If only they employed lawyers who were smart enough to tell them that they don't have to defend against every M & color green thing in the world... that their mark will be safe & these lawsuits do nothing but pad the billable hours for lawyers who are destroying small businesses across all industries but no one remembers the lawyers name, we just know Monster is run by a bunch of idiotic money grubbing assholes who love nothing more than forcing others out of any business.

    Monster - Poster child for revamping trademark law to stop assuming markholders are always the victims & a case like this should result in a directed finding & legal costs for the bodyshop.

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

  4. icon
    Narcissus (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 2:12am

    Do I need help?

    Now, if any of that branding out in the wild brings to mind Monster Energy, you need help.

    Well, if I saw this in the wild I would think "I hope Monster Energy doesn't see this because for sure they will sue..." So I guess I need help to cure me of Techdirtritus...

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 3:10am

    its*

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

  6. identicon
    Paul B, 26 Feb 2021 @ 5:49am

    Re:

    Your honor, there logo clearly has 2 parallel lines, with a V shape between them just like our logo and it's in a green color. We clearly own anything, in any industry, that might look like a green M.

    Next lawsuit Monster V. Green M&M's

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

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 7:41am

    No one goes to an auto shop to buy an energy drink,
    it seems monster think it owns the letter m if its in the same shade of green
    as their logo, even if a company is not in the same business as energy drinks.
    small companys cannot afford to go to court to protect their trademarks .

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

  8. icon
    abvr (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 8:08am

    Monster isn't an energy drink company, it is a law firm that just happens to sell energy drinks.

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

  9. identicon
    MightyMetricBatman, 26 Feb 2021 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    And discipline by the bar of the attorneys that enable companies like Monster.

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

  10. icon
    James Burkhardt (profile), 26 Feb 2021 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    Honestly, the copyright claim is much worse.

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 11:28am

    Silly me

    You know, just last week, I thought I saw an energy drink rolling down the road and stepped in front of it to I could drink it... I'm now missing several teeth, have my jaw wired shut :( ... I'm thinking it was these guys... but why are they driving an energy drink around? Is it to trick people into being hit by this rolling death drink?
    I have to lay down and take some more of these lovely pills... that's the only good thing to come out of it... these fun little happy pills... too bad they don't stop the pain too.

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 12:03pm

    Re:

     π‘€π‘œπ“ƒπ“‰π“Ž π’«π“Žπ“‰π’½π‘œπ“ƒ'π“ˆ

    𝔽𝕃𝕐𝕀ℕ𝔾 β„‚π•€β„β„‚π•Œπ•Š

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

  13. identicon
    Michael, 26 Feb 2021 @ 2:41pm

    BESIDE the point

    I know this is a constant problem on this site, but it's "beside the point," not "besides the point."

    The former is sensible (think about it) while the latter is meaningless and stupid.

    https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/beside-the-point

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

  14. identicon
    Bobvious, 26 Feb 2021 @ 3:00pm

    Only Monster Energy can Mar a Logo

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2021 @ 3:09pm

    Re: BESIDE the point

    and yet ,this whole reply seems to be ...

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories
.

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.