Ye Olde Scribe’s Bad Beer Report

“Reporting bad beer and bad beer news so you can do better than drinking or thinking crap.”

Professor Good Ales says: pronounced like “‘report’ as in Stephen Colbert Report.”

Written by Ye Olde Scribe

FINALLY. A beer column again. Been so many years since Hopping Around stopped hopping Scribe thought the whole beer blog biz would CASCADE without him. Not really. Just FUGGLE-ING with you.

Forewarning: if you want to read the actual source of the quotes click the the first few words in that quote. If you don’t, well good luck with that!

Maybe you’ve heard about that lawsuit Hansen Beverage… “Ahoser-all-of-us” BUSCH’s little slave buoy FLOATED in the beer world. A landmine directed right at small beer business: specifically the tiny Vermont brewery Rock Art; purveyor of mostly good but one or two mediocre 22 oz beers. Hey, can’t all be brew bliss, Scribe supposes.

If not, here we go:

Mr. Christopher J. Day
Law Office of Christopher Day

301 East Bethany Home Road, Suite A-213
Phoenix, AZ 85012
chris@daylawfirm.com
Re: Hansen Beverage Company
Potential Opposition to U.S. Trademark Application. Serial No. 77/765,863
Mark: THE VERMONSTER
Applicant: Rock Art Brewery, LLC
Our Ref. No.: HANBEV.579TIS

Dear Mr. Day:
Our firm represents Hansen Beverage Company (“Hansen”) in intellectual property
matters. Hansen created, manufactures and distributes the MONSTER ENERGY® line of drinks
and supplements under its famous MONSTER and MONSTER ENERGY® mark. Our client’s MONSTER and MONSTER ENERGY products can be seen at www.monsterenergy.com.
Hansen has established strong trademark rights in its MONSTER and MONSTER
ENERGY marks. In addition, Hansen is the owner of numerous federal trademark registrations
and applications, including the following:
Registration No. 3,044,315 for the mark MONSTER ENERGY
Registration No. 3,044,314 for the mark M MONSTER ENERGY
Registration No. 3,057,061 for the mark MONSTER ENERGY
Registration No. 3,134,842 for the mark M MONSTER ENERGY
Registration No. 3,134,841 for the mark MONSTER ENERGY and Design

It has come to Hansen’s attention that Rock Art Brewery, LLC uses the mark VERMONSTER in connection with beer, and has filed an application to register the mark THE VERMONSTER for beer in International Class 32. Your client’s use and registration of VERMONSTER in connection with beer will undoubtedly create a likelihood of confusion and/or dilute the distinctive quality of Hansen’s MONSTER marks. Thus, use of VERMONSTER infringes Hansen’s rights, and constitutes unfair competition under state and federal laws.

To protect our client’s rights, we must insist that you do the following:

1. Immediately cease and desist from any distribution, sale or other use of VERMONSTER in connection with beverages, including the use of any advertising, promotional and point-of-sale.materials that include the infringing mark;
2. Expressly abandon U.S. Trademark Application Serial No. 77/765,863; and
3. Pay to Hansen its attorneys’ fees incurred in connection with this matter. Hansen would like to resolve this matter amicably if possible. To that end, we must receive written assurances of your compliance with the above no later than two weeks from the date of this letter. If we receive your prompt cooperation and compliance, our client may be willing to waive any claim to attorney’s fees and allow you a period of time to phase out use of Vermonster.

If you have any questions, please contact me.
Sincerely,
Łw t/y-vM /km

Sounds nutso, doesn’t it? As one poster commented…

And how can one have an agreement where one party is acting as if “Monster” in the name for an energy beverage name is anything like “Vermonster” a barleywine that is an obvious play off of “Vermont:” that is anything but an energy drink? They only share any similarity in that they are liquids. There was no argument, IMO. Any reasonable judge would award Rock Art big time damages for even attempting this lame lawsuit.

Poor defenseless Hansen. What were they to do? Not enough noise about their energy product. Ah, says some wise ass, let’s kick around an itsy bitsy brewer in Vermont! But they weren’t expecting more blow back than a champagne bottle of homebrew with over 30 carb tabs in it:

(Morrisville, VT) – The stream of support for Rock Art Brewery continues on Twitter today as over 3,000 tweets have poured in over the last 30 hours. All tweets voice opposition to Hansen Beverage Co. for the ‘cease and desist’ order it sent to the small Vermont brewery. Hansen’s alleges that Rock Art is infringing on the trademark of its own Monster brand products.

Holy Hell, Brewboy! Scribe didn’t know you could trademark “MONSTER.” Poor Mary Shelley, she’ll be sued into an early grave. TOO LATE!

Hansen, obviously a compassionate company that cares so much for trademarks that share one word similarity, would respond kindly, right?

10/9 – In response to a now-deleted comment from Baker on the Official Monster Energy Drink Facebook Fan Page, a company representative replies, “Nobody cares, get a life.” To this date, it is one of the only, if not the only, public response on the matter from someone inside Hansen/Monster.

Oops.

Well, all well that ends well.

Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery reach ‘Monster’ agreement
Vermontbiz.com

Mon Oct 26 2009
Related Company:
Rock Art Brewery

Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery today issued the following statement in connection with a recent trademark issue: Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery have reached an amicable agreement under which both companies’ respective products will be protected — Hansen’s Monster Energy(R) line of energy drinks and Rock Art’s Vermonster beer products. Rodney Sacks, Hansen’s chief executive officer, said: “We are pleased that we were able to resolve this matter expeditiously and put the concerns that had arisen behind us so that both parties can concentrate on their day-to-day businesses, selling their respective high-quality products. Our intent in this matter was simply to protect Hansen’s trademarks and prevent any likelihood of confusion arising in the future through potential product extensions and was not to prevent Rock Art Brewery from selling their Vermonster beer.”

Everything Scribe has found so far indicates Hansen agreed to stay out of the beer business and Rock Art agreed to stay out of the energy drink business: pretty much a foregone conclusion before Rock Art spent bucks to defend themselves against a lawsuit created most likely just to make noise for a big company’s product.

Now more beer people will buy Monster Energy Drinks, right? Well, maybe not.

So in this edition, Scribe has declared Hansen the winner of The Bad Beer Award: the prize this time being an enema with two full barrels of Bud: the only thing it’s good for. Come on and get it boys and gals. Scribe is waiting.