Pizzeria wins trademark case against Monster Energy

Matthew Howe trainee solicitor intellectual property trademark Devon

During 2018, the Monster Beverage Corporation, best known for their Monster energy drink, lost a trademark infringement claim against a small independent pizzeria.

"Monsta Pizza" is a small business, owned and run by Chris Dominey and Christopher Lapham from Buckinghamshire. Despite being dwarfed by the Monster Beverage Corporation and despite the fact that they do not sell energy drinks, Monsta Pizza was informed that their name was infringing the Monster Energy trademark and told to stop trading under their name.

Instead of lying down, Monsta Pizza refused, saying their name was an integral part of their business. In a decision made by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) last year, the Monsta name was not considered to infringe the Monster Energy trademark.

What is trademark infringement?

In this case, if an infringement was to be found, Monster Energy would have had to convince the IPO that Monsta Pizza were misrepresenting that they were somehow connected with Monster Energy. Monster Energy failed and the IPO decided there was no likelihood that an average consumer would believe Monsta Pizza was in any way connected to Monster Energy drinks.

Matthew Howe, a trainee at Samuels Solicitors LLP with a specialisation in Intellectual Property says: “This is somewhat of a landmark decision showing that small independent businesses do not have to bow down to multinational corporations that try to prevent genuine trademarks from being registered. There is an obvious balance required between protecting existing trademarks and not allowing businesses to abuse this protection by striking down any trademark that they unreasonably believe is too similar to their own”.

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