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Monster Energy Fails Its Attempt To Claim That Its Beverages Are Indistinguishable From Industrial Paint

One of the things that's always coaxed a wry laugh from me is when there is some trademark dispute between two entities that results in a claim that customers will be confused between two products which, if that were true, would make the plaintiff's product sound really gross. Examples include that time Benihana suggested the public might eat a rap artist thinking it was their food, or when Makers Mark thought that people might somehow mistake its whiskey for tequila, which doesn't say much for its whiskey.

Perhaps Monster Energy saw these and other past examples of this and was all, "Hold my beer.", because it filed a trademark opposition against Monster Dip, which makes industrial paint and coatings.

Monster had filed the appeal with the EU General Court after the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), in April 2016, dismissed its opposition to a trademark registered by German resident Marco Bösel. Bösel applied to register a figurative trademark for ‘Monster Dip’ in 2014. The classes covered by the trademark are 2, 37 and 45. These include paints, coating preparations and the painting of vehicles.

Monster opposed the registration, arguing that it would infringe its registered trademarks for ‘Monster Energy’. The Opposition Division of the EUIPO rejected Monster’s claim in April 2016, with the EUIPO also rejecting Monster’s subsequent appeal in February 2017.

As Monster Energy doesn't have trademarks for those classes, all it can really be suggesting is that there would be some confusion in the public that Monster Dip's products were associated in some way with Monster Energy's. And that suggestion sure sounds like Monster Energy suggesting that the public may not be able to tell its energy drink beverages from industrial paint. Which is amazing. I mean, I've had this exact thought for years, but getting Monster Energy to admit as much is deeply satisfying.

Fortunately for Monster Dip, Monster Energy's final appeal to the EU courts failed.

Monster’s most recent appeal was brought to the General Court in July last year, seeking a rejection of Bösel’s registration for the trademark and an order for the EUIPO to pay costs. The court ruled that there was not sufficient similarity in the goods and services covered by each company’s respective trademark to cause confusion over the provider of those goods and services. Affirming the EUIPO’s decision, the court found that the sections of the “relevant public” who would understand the words ‘monster’ and ‘energy’ would also be able to distinguish between the two brands.

The court ordered Monster Energy to pay costs.

It's the last bit of this result that has me so very confused as to why Monster Energy continues to do this to itself.

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