14 September 2018Trademarks

Monster Energy fails to score in TM opposition against NBA

Energy drinks maker Monster Energy has again failed in a trademark opposition before the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).

This time, in a case announced on Wednesday, September 12, Monster Energy had taken on the marketing and licensing arm of the National Basketball Association (NBA) over a trademark for the Toronto Raptors.

NBA Properties had sought to register a trademark depicting a three-pronged claw clutching a basketball.

But Monster Energy, which has sold energy drinks under the ‘Monster’ and ‘Monster Energy’ brands since 2012, opposed the trademark.

Monster Energy has two Singapore trademarks—a claw device registration (with three claw marks) and a composite registration, which features the three-line claw mark and the words ‘Monster Energy’.

The energy drinks maker claimed that the NBA’s trademark would result in consumer confusion and a dilution of the distinctive character of its own marks.

All of these grounds hinged on a finding of similarity between the NBA’s trademark and Monster Energy’s marks.

In the decision, the IP adjudicator found that the trademarks were dissimilar, both visually and conceptually.

“The opponent’s claw device mark depicted a menacing three-pronged jagged scar produced by an unidentified feral creature, while the graphical device in the application mark depicted a three-pronged claw (presumably the claw of a velociraptor) clutching a basketball,” said Burton Ong.

Ong added that the mere similarity in the subject matter of the trademarks was not enough to establish visual similarity.

Monster Energy’s opposition proceedings were dismissed.

In June, the energy drinks maker failed to prevent another trademark registration in Singapore, ‘Monster Castle’. It was filed by Chinese investment conglomerate Tencent Holdings and covers a game where monsters protect castles from humans.

Monster Energy hasn’t had much luck in the UK either—last month, WIPR reported that the UK Intellectual Property Office refused to register the company’s ‘Mutant’ trademark for class 5, which includes nutritional supplements. However, the office did allow the application to proceed for goods in class 32 (which covers non-alcoholic drinks).

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More on this story

18 June 2018   Energy drinks maker Monster Energy has failed to prevent the registration of ‘Monster Castle’ in Singapore, a trademark covering a game where monsters protect castles from humans.
14 December 2018   Drinks maker Monster Energy has lost an appeal in an EU court in a trademark dispute.