Small Distillery Braces for Merchandise Headache as Monster Energy Files ‘M’ Logo Trademark Suit
Based on a recent sales report, one can easily see that the Monster Beverage Corporation is pretty adept at flexing its financial muscles. Because of that economic distinction, the company often feels compelled to test its legal might, too, objecting to 57 trademark applications in 2017 alone, according to Trademarkia.com. Going by its name and litigious reputation, the entity could prove a scary foe for a Virginia distillery, as it is claiming the location’s logo could cause confusion with its own “M” signifier.
MurLarkey Distilled Spirits LLC finds itself in the unexpected role of having to battle back against the beverage behemoth, as the family-owned business has been facing its branding wrath since the spring. As the matter has evolved, news sources have addressed the spat as a David-versus-Goliath matchup, owing not only to the longevity that each has established, but also to the deep pockets that the plaintiff has. Monster will use some of those holdings to try to paint MurLarkey as a possible causer of confusion due to the latter’s logo, which adorns liquor bottles and promotional merchandise.
— MurLarkey (@MurLarkey) July 10, 2018
With respect to the latter logo-bearing items, end-users can find four T-shirts and two hats on MurLarkey’s website, with the snapback cap, one could argue, being the biggest target for Monster. Even that $25 headwear item, though, represents a stretch. The product indeed contains an “M,” but, with all due respect to the distillery’s creative team, it is fairly nondescript. The Monster Beverage Corporation logo, though, which the company touts most prominently through its Monster Energy drink, possesses more flair, and would probably be an easy symbol for most consumers to identify.
Promo Marketing is familiar with the corporation’s protective stance, having last October looked at a losing confrontation with a Japanese mobile game maker. In this case, we expect for another commodity, the merchandise, to be a point of contention. Yes, the overall logo and the insignia-bearing beer bottles are huge components of MurLarkey’s identity and will become even bigger ones if the Tom Murray-led operation can hit its stride in the Virginia/Washington, D.C./Maryland nexus.
However, we cannot rule out that Monster’s overseers will see the garments as more potentially widespread troublemakers, especially since apparel affiliated with food and beverage providers has become quite common. As MurLarkey looks to establish itself as an even more reputable distillery, a legal dilemma had certainly not been on its wish list. But maybe if it emerges victorious, it will decide to tip its “M”-containing hats to Monster for the publicity.