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Newbury man takes on drinks giant in trademark dispute

War veteran's bid to launch new business scuppered by Monster's claim

Aneesa Ahmed

Reporter:

Aneesa Ahmed

Newbury man takes on drinks giant in trademark dispute

A NEWBURY man and his  start-up drinks company are going head-to-head with international, multi-billion-dollar giant Monster Energy in a trademark battle for the right to name itself ‘Thirsty Beasts’.

Thirsty Beasts was developed in 2015 by Iraq War veteran Daniel Smith, from Newbury, who wanted to provide a range of low sugar and caffeine-free drinks for adults and children.

Thirsty Beasts aims to “quench your thirst and keep you healthy”.

It was started by Mr Smith as he believed that there was a lack of healthy drinks available at venues and stores, and he wanted a healthy option available for his two daughters.

However, days away from the launch of his first drink in 2016, he was forced to abort his plans when the drinks giant opposed his trademark application, implying their customers would confuse their brand with his.

Monster Energy has opposed the application owing to the inclusion of the words ‘Monster’ or ‘Beast’, considering it too close to its ‘Unleash the Beast’ or ‘Rehab the Beast’ slogans found on the reverse of some cans and it claims consumers could confuse the two.

Mr Smith said: “I would be extremely surprised if any regular or new customer of Monster Energy would confuse the brands as there are distinct differences between them.

“Consumers are clever enough to know the difference between a healthy drink and an energy drink. 

“We don’t believe Thirsty Beasts is similar to their branding at all.”

Mr Smith has funded the entire start-up himself, building the website, developing branding and trialling many drinks variations along the way.

He added: “I am already a year into an emotionally stressful and financially debilitating process. 

“Monster is hell-bent on ensuring Thirsty Beasts is stopped dead in its tracks.”

Mr Smith says he has had to take out money from his savings and divert money that would have otherwise been used on his family and personal life just to try and keep the business afloat.

He has also been putting all the money that should have been going into the business into legal issues, which prevent him from progressing his ideas.

Mr Smith said: “It’s true I could have chosen the easy route and dropped this at the beginning, picked a new name and started all over again.

“But I had already committed so much time, effort and my own money into my passion that I simply could not turn my back on this.

“It’s also a matter of pure principle – why should they tell me or any company start-up that we don’t have the right to exist?”

Mr Smith and his representative European trademark and design attorney, Dale Campbell, have submitted their final rebuttal, before a decision is set to be made by the Intellectual Property Office.

The Newbury Weekly News contacted Monster Energy for a comment, but no response was given by the time this paper went to press.

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Article comments

  • Gorbuck

    22/08/2017 - 22:10

    Daniel versus Goliath! I hope the intellectual property office realises it has a duty to promote innovation and not roll over under pressure from a bully. It beggars belief that we live in a world where something like this needs legal council to be involved. On a point of principle I for one won't be putting any more money in Monsters coffers! Come on Daniel!

    Reply

  • Basher

    22/08/2017 - 18:06

    nil carborundum etc etc !!!

    Reply

  • bruin the bear

    22/08/2017 - 09:09

    Good luck Daniel. Don't let the buggers get you down.

    Reply

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