I’m not confused, Monster

2009 October 15
by Sarah

I don’t do trademark or copyright law, but my love of good wine and craft beer makes this a topic of particular interest to me.

Wineries and vineyards make a big deal about their labels and names.  Other companies make a big deal about their brand, as well.  One element of trademark infringement is the likelihood of confusion.   It almost always seems like it’s the big company who picks on the little company…and it also seems the big corporation often wins.  However, Starbucks did lose their case against a Korean coffee shop’s logo, but that battle took place in the patent court of Korea.

So, now comes Monster Energy (an energy drink that I’ve never tried) telling Rock Art Brewery in Vermont that the brewery’s use of the name “‘VERMONSTER’ in connection with beer will undoubtedly create a likelihood of confusion and/or dilute the distinctive quality of Hansen’s MONSTER marks.” (quote from link above)

Whaaaaat????  Ok, first of all, Vermonster beer comes in a bottle. Monster Energy comes in a can. Second, Vermonster is a beer, made with hops, malt, and other natural ingredients.  Monster Energy is some jacked up sugar drink, full of all kinds of crazy things. Third, Vermonster’s bottle has a beautiful picture of Vermont and a Kokopelli figure on it (as do the other beers the brewery bottles.)  Monster Energy has an uninspired black background with some scraggly “M” drawn in neon green. Fourth, Vermonster beer doesn’t have caffeine.  Monster Energy does. Fifth, well, you get the point.

I wonder why Monster Energy hasn’t pursued legal action against Ben and Jerry’s Vermonster ice cream sundae, since they probably have comparable amounts of sugar.  Oh, right, Monster Energy’s parent company wants to enter the beer market in Vermont. Gotcha.  Pick on the little guy to help clear the market for a beer you likely haven’t even started working on yet.  Way to gain the respect of craft beer fans. The Twitter hashtag “#monsterboycott” is quickly gaining momentum among the tweeting breweries and beer fans I follow.

Well, I would boycott Monster Energy if I even drank their swill in the first place.  But I don’t, so instead of boycotting a product I’ve never used, I’m just going to do my part to get the word out about this, and ask you to boycott Monster Energy drinks if you do consume them.

Monster, I’m not confused and neither are most people.   We know what you’re trying to accomplish.  There’s a reason I don’t drink your stuff…caffeinated, extra sugary Kool-Aid is not my thing.  I’ll take a Rock Art Brewery Vermonster barleywine, please.

Here are more links about this fiasco:

Another news article

A fellow Vermont brewery asking for a boycott

More boycott

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