Gods & Monsters Isn’t The First Time Monster Energy Has Been Annoying About Naming Rights

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Photo: Monster Energy , Other
Photo: Monster Energy , Other

Monster Beverage tried to stop Ubisoft from trademarking the name “Gods & Monsters” earlier this year to prevent confusion between its brand of highly caffeinated sodas and the upcoming action adventure game. It turns out this is the sort of thing Monster does a lot.

Monster routinely challenges “monster”-related trademarks, including, tactical gear, ice cream, and dog treats.

The news about Gods & Monsters, which Ubisoft announced earlier this month had been renamed Immortals: Fenyx Rising, was first reported by TechRaptor based on publicly available filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In a 186-page filing dated April 3, Monster argued in part that the Gods & Monsters name would conflict with its own because of the drink company’s involvement in sponsoring esports teams, tournaments, as well as actual video games. Surely you’ve heard of Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Video game?

“[Monster] has built up, at great expense and effort, valuable goodwill in its MONSTER Marks and has developed strong common law rights in its MONSTER Marks,” the company wrote. Ubisoft responded a month later with a much briefer eight-page filing denying Monster’s claims.

One of Monster Energy's claims against Ubisoft's Gods & Monsters trademark. (Screenshot: Kotaku)

The publisher has also claimed that the name change from Gods & Monsters to the inscrutable Immortals: Fenyx Rising was entirely its own idea. “The change of name was entirely because of the vision of the game,” game director Julien Galloudec told VGC in an interview last week. He went on:

The game changed a lot, to the point where we felt we needed a new name to be better aligned with that updated vision, so that’s where we decided to change to Immortals Fenyx Rising, a name that combines the notion of the timeless aspect of the Greek mythology with the immortals. And also I like the new era, Fenyx, and adjoining that epic adventure.

Ubisoft did not respond to a request for comment.

A quick search on the Trademark Office website reveals 25 current pending notices of opposition to other companies using the name “Monster.” The cases range from disputes with other food and beverage companies to seemingly completely unrelated businesses like toy manufacturers.

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For example, Monster took issue with Nikko Toys’ line of remote control Mega Monster trucks because it, too, has at one time or another plastered its logo on the sides of toy cars. The company even went after someone trying to sell dog treats called “Monster Bully Sticks,” to which the maker of those dog treats basically responded that it is unlikely anyone would confuse a giant beef tendon for dogs to chew on with a can of Monster Energy.

The brand’s tagline is “Unleash the Beast.” A more appropriate one might be, “Unleash the lawyers.”

Monster declined to comment.

Comments

  • Fuck it’s such a horrible new name. It’s just… so, so bad.

    Monster needs to fuck off. Or rather, someone with the time and money needs to fight their claim to the word and have the courts forcibly fuck them off.

    • The thing is, people *do* fight Monster, and they do win. The problem is that Monster never stops, and goes after almost anyone trying to register a Monster trademark.

      For a lot of people, just the threat of legal action from Monster is enough to get them to fold.

      It’s awful, and Monster should just be shut down.

  • I wish they’d revoke Monster’s trademark(s) because of bad faith lawsuits like these.

    “Monsters” as a concept pre-date written history, the fact that a soft drink brand can make a game company change the name of a game that’s about creatures rather than beverages is disgusting!

    I hope Apple don’t see this,they might start suing orchards!

    • Strictly speaking, Apple Computers is largely only operating because of a series of legal settlements with the Beatles’ company Apple Corps. If anyone was to sue orchards it would more likely be the surviving members of the Beatles.

      • The agreement with Apple Corps was that Apple would stay out of the music industry, which probably seemed like a wild idea in the late 1970s, but it caused problems when Apple started making iPods.

        • Indeed, which is one of many reasons why the issue has gone back to court several times since.

          Just goes to show how much trademark law sucks, as if anyone was ever going to get confused that Apple Computers was somehow run by the Beatles.

  • Welp, guess Monster Hunter and Monster Boy/Monster World are gonna have to change their names now. I’m actually surprised they can do this given how many games throughout the years have had “Monster” in the name. I’m no lawyer but I thought trademark law required it to not be in common use and that you had to challenge each and every single instance to preserve it.

    • I think with those games they may have existed before Monster the drink, so it’s hard to say that thing that existed before we did infringes on our copyright.

    • Trademark law has never required owners to agressively go after “each and every single instance to preserve it”, that’s just a myth circulated by self-interested intellectual property lawyers who get paid each time they send such a letter.

      All that is required is that the trademark be used and not excessively diluted, which in practice means that, yeah, you’d have to challenge the large obvious cases from your direct competitors, but there’s no circumstance where going after companies operating in tangental areas or even small businesses operating in the same area is necessary.

      There is literally no circumstance where the existence of small mum and pop shops in Australia, indie game developers, modders or in fact most other potential uses would result in a a trademark being declared void.

      See, for example
      https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/11/trademark-law-does-not-require-companies-tirelessly-censor-internet

  • Thank goodness, Imagine what might have happened if I accidentally drunk the Gods and Monsters disc thinking it was an energy drink.

  • Why is something this stupid completely what I would expect from an energy drink company? Goddamn energy drinks are disgusting, just the smell makes me want to gag.

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