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Newbury man's David versus Goliath battle with drinks giant Monster

Legal wrangle has 'cost a fortune' says Iraq war veteran

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

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Newbury man takes on drinks giant in trademark dispute

A NEWBURY businessman’s battle with a multi-billion-dollar company for his own brand’s right to exist is still raging, despite him winning the first skirmish. 

Daniel Smith created Thirsty Beasts to provide a range of low-sugar and caffeine-free drinks for adults and children.

However, he was forced to abandon his launch in 2016 when Monster Energy opposed the trademark application, claiming that customers would confuse the two brands. 

Monster 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.

Thirsty Beasts was first to draw blood in the David versus Goliath fight when the Trademark Office ruled in the Newbury company’s favour in November last year. 

But the fight isn’t over for Iraq War veteran Mr Smith as Monster, which made a gross profit of $1,634,080 in the first nine months of last year, has appealed the decision. 

Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News, Mr Smith said: “It’s a bit of a faff and difficult at this stage to say what the outcome will be. 

“It’s a waste of money.

“It’s a fledgling business. We should be out marketing and campaigning, but we’ve had to ditch all the product and we’re back to square one.

“It’s disappointing. When we got the ruling we assumed that would be it.

“The Trademark Office ruled there was no similarity whatsoever and they owe me money for a waste of time.

“It’s cost a fortune and it’s debilitated us.

“I get the feeling this is the action they use to grind you down, then you can’t afford to continue.

“The point is, if I was going to pull out I would have done it a long time ago.

“We have every right to exist.

“It might not be going anywhere at the moment but there’s the principle behind it; an American company that just happens to dislike a brand in the UK. 

“It’s a monopoly they have in that area of the business . . . they shouldn’t be allowed to do this.

“How do they know what I’m capable of as a business?” 

The appeal is set to be heard in May. 

Monster Energy was contacted for comment, but did not respond by the time this paper went to press.  

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Article comments

  • Blizzard

    07/03/2018 - 18:06

    Erm... two very different products. It will help him that these drinks will be banned for sale to under 16s giving his product a healthy boost. I hope this works out for him. I'm a thirsty beast just reading it.

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  • NoisyNortherner

    07/03/2018 - 09:09

    Seems fairly standard practice once a company gets big enough. Throw lawyers at a problem and make it go away. There are sometimes good reasons for them doing this however, and it often comes down to setting a precedent. If a company is only selectively enforcing their trademark claim, they may eventually lose rights to it. I wholeheartedly sympathise with Daniel in this case though. The link is tenuous at best.

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