Hansen Beverage Company is a small mom-and-pop concern with a billion dollars and a dream — a dream in which it murders the shit out of smaller businesses that make products that are sort-of maybe kind-of like what they make.
Hansen makes Monster energy drink, the official beverage of high school wrestlers and high school dropouts. Matt Nadeau makes small batch craft beers in Vermont. To commemorate 10 years of staying in business, Nadeau’s Rock Art Brewery produced a special barley wine called The Vermonster.
Because Hansen has some designs on maybe someday entering the alcoholic beverage industry, it sent a nasty letter to Nadeau demanding that he pull all marketing and sales efforts behind The Vermonster. Because the names kind of sound like each other, and people can get confused. If they’re idiots. Which is actually Monster’s primary demographic.
Anyway, several trademark lawyers have told Nadeau that the Monster people have absolutely no case, but still advising him to give up. Hansen has enough cash to keep the case in the courts for years, and Nadeau’s legal fees would likely drive him to bankruptcy:
“This is just about principle,” said Nadeau, 43. “Corporate America can’t be allowed to do this, in this day and age. It’s just not right.”
Trademark attorneys say companies are right to be aggressive about trademark infringement, since they can lose trademarks down the road if they fail to defend them. It’s just a side effect of having a strong 1st amendment.
You know what else the 1st amendment is good for? Reviewing products on the Internet. Even products like Monster energy drink, which tastes like boiled urine sprinkled with Feta cheese. In fact, I bet there’s nothing worse on earth than the taste of Monster energy drink. It’s like paint thinner run through a colander full of dead guinea pigs. Seriously, it tastes like crabs (the STD, not the crustacean).