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MonsterVintage
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"Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small Busi
« on: Oct 20th, 2004, 8:50pm »
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“Monster” Audio/Vintage Cable Company Tries to Strong-Arm Small Vintage Clothing Business
 
Monster Cable, an Audio/ Video cable specialist is attempting to takeover the domain name and use of the word “Monster” for many websites around the globe.  Monster Cable has filed a Federal Lawsuit to take over the website www.Monstervintage.com. Monster Cable claims that we (Monster Vintage) do not have the right to use the word “MONSTER”, a word used to emphasize our large selection of used vintage clothing.  Attorneys for Monster Cable reported to the court fraudulent signatures to sneak thru the Federal Court system and take over www.Monstervintage.com., putting us out of business and stealing our domain name.  Currently, the Monster Cable Corp. is in a number of legal battles over the word usage of “Monster".
 
Monstervintage.com is a very small cottage business established during the summer of 2001, which sells classic All-American, used vintage clothing.  We (Monster Vintage) would like to know how our business threatens a 300 Million dollar a year cable company?  
 
We have started the legal procedures necessary to fight this battle, and would love to share our story with a number of media outlets to show how some big corporations try to strong-arm smaller businesses into submission.  (See below on how to contact Monster Cable with your voice on this important issue).
 
We (Monster vintage) can be reached at the following:
 
Victor Petrucci
Monstervintage.com (Updated with new info on this case)
P.O. Box 679
Camas, WA 98607
503-780-6316
info@monstervintage.com
 
***P.S. Letters to Monster Cable (dgraham@monstercable.com PR Dept./ dgraham@monstercable.com General Counsel) expressing your thoughts on this issue are highly encouraged.  Thank you for your time and patience on this important issue.***
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eric stasik
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Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
« Reply #1 on: Oct 21st, 2004, 1:44am »
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Dear Mr. Petrucci,
 
You asked:
 
"We (Monster Vintage) would like to know how our business threatens a 300 Million dollar a year cable company?"  
 
Well, sir, they are probably not at all concerned about your clothing business, but rather they are simply defending their trademark.
 
According to US law, if you have a US trademark you have to defend it vigorously or you may be deemed to have abandoned the mark or acquiesced in its misuse.
 
This is why, for example, Microsoft filed suit against a teenager Mike Rowe, for putting up a website called "MikeRoweSoft.com."  
 
While your clothing business poses no apparent threat to Monster cable, if they were to loose their trademark because they did not defend it against you (and others), another cable company could sell "Monster" cables and then their business would definitely be threatened.  
 
I think it is somewhat unfair to paint this as a big company trying to muscle a small company out of business. Big or small, trademark owners are subject to the same laws. Understanding their motivation is the first step towards resolving your dispute.  
 
Regards,
 
eric stasik
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eric stasik
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JSonnabend
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Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
« Reply #2 on: Oct 21st, 2004, 7:51am »
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I think Eric's comments are way out of line.  Simply because Monster Cable's mark utilizes the ordinary English word "monster" does not mean that it can or should go after every other commercial use of the word.  
 
First, use of identical, dominant words in marks may coexist in the market when they are applied to sufficiently different goods and services (e.g., "United Airlines" and "United Van Lines").   Are high-tech electrical cables at all related to vintage clothing?  Any chance of bridging the gap?  A little common sense goes a long way here.
 
Second, it is not immediately apparent that the mark "Monster Cable" is anywhere near famous, and so dilution is not an issue.   The mark certainly isn't any "Coca Cola" or "McDonalds".  Ask 100 random people you meet about the mark and see what kind of recognition it gets.
 
Third, Monster Cable's attack appears on its face to be disingenuous.  Why is the company going after small business websites but not other uses of the word "Monster" if the use is so damaging?  What about the 256 live registrations to parties other than Monster Cable Industries that include the word "Monster"?  
 
Finally, it is wrong to suggest that a mark owner must go after every use of words found in its mark to protect its rights.  While the law does indeed place the burden on the owner to police its mark, mark owners only need to protect against confusingly similar (or dilutionary) infringing uses, not all uses.
 
The OP would do well to consult with a qualified TM attorney, which apparently it has done.  The problem is, defending its seemingly meritorious case will be costly, a fact of which Monster Cable is undoubtedly aware.
 
- Jeff
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Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
« Reply #3 on: Oct 21st, 2004, 10:53am »
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I have to join Jeff in surprise that Monster Cable is doing this.  As far as A/V cabling goes, Monster Cable is very well known.  However, A/V cabling is not what I immediately think of when I hear "Monster."  In fact, when my 2-yr-old chants "Monster, Monster, Monster, ...", I don't hand her A/V cabling, I put on our Monsters, Inc. DVD.  Go to www.monster.com, and you don't see anything at all about A/V cabling.  In short, their mark may be famous in a very limited market, but the fame doesn't go beyond that.  And, there are peacefully co-existing "monster" marks in other markets.  
 
I think Monster Cable deserves the 4-finger salute -- thumb to nose, four fingers wagging, tongue out producing a nice rasberry.
 
Regards.
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victor petruccci
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Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
« Reply #4 on: Nov 12th, 2004, 10:12pm »
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thanks for the good words, they are just trying to take over all names to do with monster. as they now have over 4000 names.
 
 
San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, November 8, 2004
 
Monster fiercely protects its name  
Cable products company sues those who use M-word  
 
Benny Evangelista, Chronicle Staff Writer
 
A monster by any other name might get you sued by Monster Cable Products Inc.  
The Brisbane maker of electronics accessories has filed lawsuits and trademark infringement claims against dozens of companies for using "monster'' in names, products or services.  
The TV series "Monster Garage'' and the Monster Seats above Fenway Park's left field wall have been targeted in what Monster Cable officials say is an aggressive legal strategy to protect the firm's good name.  
"We have an obligation to protect our trademark; otherwise we'd lose it, '' said Monster Cable founder Noel Lee.  
Critics like Victor Petrucci, founder of a small, family-owned online clothing store called MonsterVintage.com in Camas, Wash., say Monster Cable is going overboard.  
"They strong-arm anybody who uses the word 'monster,' '' said Petrucci, who is fighting a lawsuit that Monster Cable filed against his firm in August. "I sell used clothing. How can I damage them at all?''  
Petrucci drew public attention with a big protest sign attached to a truck outside the main parking lot during a 49ers game shortly after Monster Cable bought the naming rights to Candlestick Park in San Francisco.  
Monster Cable legal counsel David Tognotti said it has registered more than 50 trademarks covering a wide range of products, including furniture, food and clothing. "We've spent millions of dollars as well as countless hours building our brand,'' he said.  
Tognotti is preparing for a trial against the Discovery Channel over the popular TV series "Monster Garage,'' which he claims uses images of "provocative women'' and an iron cross logo that could tarnish Monster Cable's image.  
With MonsterVintage, Tognotti said he tried to stop Petrucci's use of a logo that is very similar to Monster Cable's.  
"We called them and said, 'We'd like you to stop,' '' Tognotti said. "He continued to ignore us, so we filed a lawsuit in federal court.''  
According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and court records, Monster Cable has gone after other notable monsters:  
 
-- Walt Disney Co., which distributed Pixar Animation Studios' hit film "Monsters, Inc.''  
-- Bally Gaming International Inc. for its Monster Slots.  
-- Hansen Beverage Co. for a Monster Energy drink.  
-- The Chicago Bears, whose nickname is "Monsters of the Midway.''  
 
In most cases, Monster Cable has been able to work out a settlement or nominal licensing agreement, Tognotti said.  
For example, a deal is in the works with the owner of the Fenway Park Monster Seats trademark that will result in some seats being made available for charitable purposes at Monster and Fenway parks.  
In 1999, Monster Cable sued the company it has been most mistaken for, Monster.com., the Maynard, Mass., online job-hunting site. The companies settled in February 2000, but agreed to keep the terms confidential.  
However, trademark law attorney Anthony Malutta, who once defended a client in a case filed by Monster Cable, noted that Monster.com's site has a link to Monster Cable, not the other way around.  
Monster Cable's policing of its trademark strengthens its legal rights and scares off would-be monsters, said Malutta, of Townsend and Townsend and Crew LLP of San Francisco.  
However, that tactic might "hurt them if they go after everybody who uses 'monster,' like a little clothing company that really is not a source of confusion at all,'' he said.
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