Hansen Beverage company, owners of the trademarked Monster energy drink, are currently threatening a very one-sided war of attrition against Vermont-based Rock Art Brewery. Rock Art makes a beer called The Vermonster, which Hansen claims is an infringement upon their trademark of the Monster name. It's ridiculous. No person is going to mistake a can of Monster for a bottle of The Vermonster. Yet, Hansen claims consumers could mistake the two. Or, is it because Hansen wants to enter the alcoholic beverage industry? Could be both. Different sources say different things. Check out Rock Art's website, and check other blogs (I follow Starting A Brewery and A Good Beer Blog) to see what you can find.
It seems to me that Hansen doesn't really have a case. They are two easily distinguishable products. Also, there are dozens of beers with the word monster in their name, most, if not all, of which Hansen has not contacted. The problem arises, however, when you take into account Hansen's ability to throw loads of money at court hearings and lawyers. It's doubtful that Rock Art has the money to fight more than one or two court cases. Who does? But Hansen can keep suing if they choose, and financially run Rock Art into the ground, unless they give in.
No worries as of yet, Hansen sent a "cease and desist" letter to the brewery. The brewery's response is on their website, and as far as I know Hansen has not taken any other action. Shit like this show's a huge problem with our legal system: frivolous lawsuits. I don't like your face, so I'm suing. If Hansen does potentially want to enter the alcoholic beverage market, would it really be wise to retain the Monster name? Monster Long Island Iced Tea, anyone? Much less distinguishable from an energy drink since they would both likely come in cans. Let's hope they don't try to enter the beer market. Thinking of the possible monsters (ha!) they could create makes me shudder.