MONSTER energy beverage company sent a cease and desist letter to Rock Art Brewery, who make a VERMONSTER beer, and threaten to Oppose their trademark application with the USPTO. VERMONSTER launched a publicity campaign and has received favorable coverage online. Accoring to Mashable, they are using twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other social media to spread their message and rally against MONSTER energy drinks. The Facebook group “Vermonters and Craft Beer Brewers Against Monster” has thousands of members.
Will this publicity affect the strategy of MONSTER energy drink’s owners and lawyers? Their brand reportedly has $1 billion in sales last year.
(Note – if MONSTER energy drinks are sold in bars and mixed with alcoholic beverages frequently, does that change your opinion of whether the two names are likely to be confused?)
Is this the future of trademark disputes – taking them online to social media to rally the public? In some ways, the effect could be good for small business owners, helping them level the playing field. In some ways, it is not good as it the law and the facts can easily be twisted and misconstrued and whether or not 10,000 Facebook fans support you has nothing to do with any legal analysis of whether a trademark infringement exists.