13 February 2019Trademarks

Monster Energy drops TM clash with athletics company

Energy drinks maker  Monster Energy has settled a trademark dispute with California-based athletics company  Monsta Athletics.

On Monday, February 11, Judge Michael Fitzgerald of the US District Court for the Central District of California dismissed Monster Energy’s suit.

Under the confidential settlement agreement, the parties will bear their own costs and attorneys’ fees.

In April last year, Monster Energy claimed that Monsta Athletics, a company that sells sports equipment and clothing, was infringing the Monster trademarks and trade dress.

Monster Energy’s trademarks include the word mark ‘Monster’, the word mark ‘Monster Energy’ and its claw logo. While many of Monster Energy’s US trademarks cover beverages and nutritional supplements, a number of the marks also cover clothing, sporting goods and the promotion of goods and services in the sports industry.

“Monster has consistently used a distinctive trade dress for its packaging and promotional materials, including the elements of a black or black and grey background, a claw icon, a bright contrasting accent colour, and an overall aggressive, edgy theme,” the suit said.

According to the claim, Monster Energy has sold and distributed millions of articles of clothing and licensed the use of its marks and trade dress for goods such as sports helmets and sports bags.

“Since 2002, Monster has spent approximately $4.6 billion marketing and promoting its Monster marks and Monster trade dress. In 2017 alone, Monster spent $537 million dollars in advertising, promoting and marketing its brand, marks and trade dress,” said the claim.

Monster Energy went on to claim that it sponsors or has previously sponsored more than 200 athletes or athletic teams who compete in a wide variety of sports. As of 2015, Monster sponsors the Ultimate Fighting Championship as its official energy drink partner (excluding in Brazil).

Monsta Athletics was allegedly infringing the energy drinks maker’s marks through the sale of sports good featuring the word marks ‘Monsta’, ‘Monsta Athletics’, ‘Monsta Gear’ and a series of claw-like designs.

Monster Energy also claimed that Monsta Athletics, or its affiliated softball team WC Monstas, had sold counterfeit hats and clothing using a design identical to Monster Energy’s claw mark.

The WC Monstas’ team uniforms bear a design identical to Monster Energy’s claw mark, according to the energy drinks maker.

“Indeed, defendant has a duty to avoid confusion with Monster … because defendant entered the market after Monster. Nevertheless, defendant has purposely promoted,
marketed, and/or sold its goods and services in a manner that causes a likelihood of confusion with Monster,” the suit alleged.

In December 2018, Monsta Athletics responded, claiming that it had superior rights to use of the ‘Monsta’ name in connection with sporting goods and apparel and that Monster Energy had no protectable trade dress.

Two months later, on February 8, Monster Energy filed its stipulation to dismiss the case with prejudice.

Last week, WIPR  reported that Monster Energy has lost an appeal against a trademark series applied for by Monsta Pizza, a pop-up eatery, in the UK.

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More on this story

5 February 2019   Monster Energy has lost an appeal against a trademark series applied for by Monsta Pizza, a pop-up eatery.
8 March 2019   Energy drinks maker Monster Energy has failed to stop the registration of a trademark which it claimed could be confused with four of its earlier marks.
29 March 2019   A US-based sports supplement manufacturer has accused Monster Energy of “shamelessly copying” the trade dress of its energy drinks brand Bang.