Sat, 24 Nov 2018
A NEWBURY man has won his monster two-year trademark battle with a multi-billion pound energy drinks giant.
Daniel Smith can now operate his start-up business Thirsty Beasts, a range of low-sugar and caffeine-free drinks for adults and children, after toppling Monster Energy.
Mr Smith was set to launch his company in 2016, but Monster Energy opposed the trademark application, claiming that customers would confuse the two brands.
Monster objected to the application owing to the inclusion of the words ‘Monster’ or ‘Beast’, considering it too close to ‘Unleash the Beast’ or ‘Rehab the Beast’ slogans found on the reverse of some of its cans.
Thirsty Beasts drew first blood in the David versus Goliath fight when the Trademark Office ruled in the Newbury company’s favour in November last year.
Mr Smith was awarded costs of £1,100, but the fight wasn’t over for the former soldier as Monster appealed the decision.
However, on Tuesday, the decision once again went in Mr Smith’s favour.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News, Mr Smith said: “It feels good.
“We are skint now because of it, but the next stage is to look for investors and we need to try and get back on our feet again.
“Unbelievably, the costs are only £1,600… but they have found in our favour, that’s it.
“Obviously, the business has got to grow now and make up for lost time and look for the investment.”
Mr Smith said he would be looking for a facility in Newbury to start operating from.
Monster Energy, based in California, had argued that the blue fluffy head in Mr Smith’s logo and the .com were non-distinctive to the word beasts.
And, they claimed, as the fluffy head was clearly a beast, this emphasised the word beast – used in Monster’s branding.
Iain Purvis QC said that he recognised the ingenuity of the argument, but was ultimately unconvinced.
He said that the average consumer would not tend to analyse various details of a logo, taking it as a whole instead.
He disagreed with Monster’s argument that the blue fluffy head emphasised beast over thirsty, saying that the creature was clearly a thirsty beast.
“Both the beast and its thirstiness form critical parts of the whole concept and cannot properly be separated from each other,” Mr Purvis ruled.
Monster Energy, whose net income for the first nine months of 2018 was $753.9m, was directed to pay Mr Smith a further £600.