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  • Writer's pictureDavid Baker

Monsters & Mortals Not to Be Confused with Monster Energy Drinks

TTAB allows federal registration for computer game despite opposition.

In a recent trademark dispute that has significant implications for brand owners, Monster Energy faced a surprising defeat in its opposition to the registration of "DARK DECEPTION: MONSTERS & MORTALS" for downloadable game software. The case, Monster Energy Company v. Glowstick Entertainment, Inc., Opposition No. 91282624 (August 25, 2023), delivered a clear message about the limits of trademark protection.

Monster Energy, a frequent litigant before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), sought to prevent Glowstick Entertainment from registering the trademark "DARK DECEPTION: MONSTERS & MORTALS" for downloadable game software. Monster Energy, known for its distinctive marks, including the iconic "MONSTER ENERGY," argued that there was a likelihood of confusion between its marks and Glowstick's.

However, the TTAB disagreed. In its ruling, the Board emphasized that while the goods in question were similar, there was a significant dissimilarity between the marks themselves. The Board recognized that Monster Energy's marks carried a strong conceptual and commercial reputation, even potentially achieving fame in the realm of video, electronic, computer, and interactive games. Yet, the TTAB ultimately found that Glowstick's mark conveyed a different meaning and commercial impression.

Why It Matters.

For business owners, this case serves as a valuable reminder of the intricacies of trademark law. Trademarks are not solely about the words themselves but also about the overall impression and meaning they convey. In this instance, the TTAB's decision hinged on the perception of the marks as a whole. "DARK DECEPTION: MONSTERS & MORTALS" was seen as distinct from "MONSTER ENERGY," despite the shared word "MONSTER." This underscores the importance of considering the holistic impression of trademarks when assessing potential conflicts.

The Monster Energy case highlights the complexities of trademark law and the importance of understanding the broader context in which marks are used. It's a lesson that resonates not only with brand owners but also with writers and content creators who must navigate the intricate world of intellectual property. By appreciating the nuances of trademark protection, writers can better safeguard their creative works and brands can make informed decisions to protect their valuable assets.

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