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(Message started by: MonsterVintage on Oct 20th, 2004, 8:50pm)

Title: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small Busi
Post by MonsterVintage on Oct 20th, 2004, 8:50pm
“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.***

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by eric stasik on Oct 21st, 2004, 1:44am
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

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by JSonnabend on Oct 21st, 2004, 7:51am
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

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by JimIvey on Oct 21st, 2004, 10:53am
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.

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by victor petruccci on Nov 12th, 2004, 10:12pm
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.

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by JimIvey on Nov 12th, 2004, 11:46pm

on 11/12/04 at 22:12:24, victor petruccci wrote:
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.''


Wow.  That's pretty amazing.  I think they're pretty clearly on the wrong side of the legal issues, but the unfortunate reality is that you have to put your story in front of a judge to get to that conclusion.  And that takes money.

FWIW, as a consumer, I've known about Monster Cable for decades, but I've never thought of them until you get to the second word of their mark.  There are so many other Monsters in the world, many of which pre-date my earliest recollection of Monster Cable.

I'm sure if I sat down with their attorneys, I'd have a better understanding of their legal and factual basis for this.  But as it stands, I don't get it.

Regards.

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by JSonnabend on Nov 18th, 2004, 9:05am

on 11/12/04 at 23:46:34, JimIvey wrote:
I'm sure if I sat down with their attorneys, I'd have a better understanding of their legal and factual basis for this.  But as it stands, I don't get it.

Jim, I don't think there is much to get.  The following quote says it all (i.e., "income stream").  After all, how much QC could Monster Cable assert over Bally's or the Bears?


Quote:
In most cases, Monster Cable has been able to work out a . . .  nominal licensing agreement

- Jeff

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by eric stasik on Nov 18th, 2004, 10:29am

on 10/21/04 at 07:51:32, JSonnabend wrote:
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.  


Well, I didn't say I supported what Monster was doing, I was only trying to point out what their rationale might be.

San Francisco Chronicle
Monday, November 8, 2004
 
Monster fiercely protects its name  
Cable products company sues those who use M-word  

It seems to me that my initial observation was not so "way out of line" after all.

Monster is a well-known brand name for audiophiles. I used to have a set of their thick braided copper cables between my Nakamichi power amplifier and my Interface D Series II loudspeakers. It was probably overkill, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Should Monster cable have the right to all uses of the word Monster?

Probably not, but that won't stop them from trying.

Nor will it stop good old American lawyers from taking Monster's money to harass small business owners.

Cheers,

eric "Monster" stasik

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by j holcomb on Dec 8th, 2004, 3:20pm
Email sent to Irene Baran COO, Monster Cable iebaran@monstercable.com

Hello Miss Baran-
You people are dorks.
I had every intention of crafting a well-written argument against your position on trademark infringement or dilution..... but then I thought, "How does this actually affect me?" My thoughts kept drifting to a natural end, that denial, redirection and several beers couldn't change.
#1 - Your company is nowhere near as important as you deem yourselves. (money isn't everything)
#2 - Outside the A/V world you have little or no real impact or exposure to the vast majority of people.
#3 - (and I believe most important) I would never have found www.monstervintage.com without your help.

What's my point?

I just spent 145$ on some kick ass cool retro clothes, and 0$ on any new A/V cabling products.

So back to the original response.
You people are dorks.
Fer Pete's sake, even Vince McMahon taught a huge lesson when he used negative advertising to his advantage. (thinks World Wildlife Federation v. WWF)
You missed your shot.

Have a nice year.

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by K Paulk on Jan 4th, 2005, 11:07am

on 12/08/04 at 15:20:46, j holcomb wrote:
Email sent to Irene Baran COO, Monster Cable iebaran@monstercable.com

Hello Miss Baran-
You people are dorks.
I had every intention of crafting a well-written argument against your position on trademark infringement or dilution..... but then I thought, "How does this actually affect me?" My thoughts kept drifting to a natural end, that denial, redirection and several beers couldn't change.
#1 - Your company is nowhere near as important as you deem yourselves. (money isn't everything)
#2 - Outside the A/V world you have little or no real impact or exposure to the vast majority of people.
#3 - (and I believe most important) I would never have found www.monstervintage.com without your help.

What's my point?

I just spent 145$ on some kick ass cool retro clothes, and 0$ on any new A/V cabling products.

So back to the original response.
You people are dorks.
Fer Pete's sake, even Vince McMahon taught a huge lesson when he used negative advertising to his advantage. (thinks World Wildlife Federation v. WWF)
You missed your shot.

Have a nice year.

That's great!  LOL

I DO use Monster Cables in my home theater, but I think I'm going to reconsider it now.  This just burns my butt!  >:(

Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by Nien Tao on Feb 12th, 2005, 4:56pm
"He who fights with monsters. should be careful, lest he thereby become a monster" -  Friedrich Nietzsche.

What an amazing extortion-like racket.  Don Corleone himself couldn't have thought of such a racket as these lawyers for monster cable.

I always thought American trademark law allows you to trademark something in relationship to it's use of application, perhaps I am mistaken.  Somehow there is United Parcel Service, the United States, United Freight, United van Lines and all of them somehow exist without infringing on each others trademark.  Imagine that.  Somehow I am at a loss to explain how vintage clothing is related to audio cable that monster produces.  Geesh, what is next, will they go after the "Son of Svengoulie" for his "Monster Horror Chiller Theater"?

Here is a clue for monster, spend less on lawyers and more on product development.

In any case, I personally do NOT do business or purchase products from companies that bully others with lawyers, and hide behind lawyers using bogus legal-eze to abuse the freedom and liberties of law abiding citizens and businesses.  They can get all the lawyers they want, what they are doing seems awfully like extortion (sign the rights to your companies name away, pay 5 large (thats 5 thousand for the mob lingo inpiared) and 1 percent of the gross).  

In "The Godfather" Don Corleone (known to leave horses heads in people's beds)  says things like "things break you know, things happen, bad things, you should pay us, we can take care of you..."   And somehow this is  different from "give us your domain/comapnay name, surrunder quality control of your company to us, pay us $5000.00 and 1% of the gross or we will sick our lawyers on you and drive you into bankruptcy having to defend yourself".  Pathetic, just pathetic.

For the time being, I am boycotting Monster Cable.  I will no longer purchase monster cable and will encourage as many others as I can to no longer buy their products.  Perhaps this will have no effect on their multi-million dollar business, but they might find that while creating a positive image costs much in advertising; destroying it costs nothing at all, just being an aggressive, bullying jerk.  Europeans tend to look highly unfavorably at what we call "predatory american" business practices.

Perhaps their corporate heads should talk to someone other than lawyers.


Title: Re: "Monster" Vintage Strong-Arms Small
Post by JimIvey on Feb 16th, 2005, 2:19pm

on 02/12/05 at 16:56:24, Nien Tao wrote:
Perhaps their corporate heads should talk to someone other than lawyers.

If they had talked to good lawyers, they would have been advised that the facts don't support their legal position, at least not strongly.  They probably should have been advised that what they are/were hoping to achieve was a long-shot in terms of generating a benefit that would have out-weighed the costs.

Perhaps they were told all this by good lawyers and decided to disregard it.  

In my somewhat limited perspective on these sorts of things, people tend to get their derrieres handed to them from ignoring their lawyers rather than listening to them.

Just a thought...



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