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Company’s litigious history: aggressive or overzealous?

Protecting a company’s intellectual property can be complicated and intensive. These are materials that, when properly protected, are not to be used or copied by any other party without permission. If and when this happens, the owner of the protected creation has the right to intervene and put a stop to the unlawful use.

Sometimes all that is necessary is a letter informing the party that it is using protected works and must stop. In other cases, companies take a more aggressive approach and threaten to — and actually do — take legal action. But there is a difference between being aggressive and being overzealous. Let’s look at an example using Monster Beverage.

Monster Beverage reportedly filed more trademark-related legal claims than any other company in the U.S. last year. According to reports like this one in The Washington Post, their strategy consists of taking action against any and all parties who utilize logos, phrases or slogans that even slightly resemble their own materials.

Most recently, the company filed a claim against the owner of MonsterFishKeepers, an online forum, arguing that its name and logo infringed on the beverage giant’s trademark.

However, the owner of the small business prevailed when the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board determined that, while he could not register the company’s logo, he could keep his company’s name.

There are people who question Monster’s strategy of taking legal action against any party that attempts to trademark something even remotely close to material owned by Monster. While it may help the company protect its brand, taking such aggressive and frequent legal action may be considered “irrational” by some.

When it comes to protecting intellectual property, there are many different strategies and approaches to consider. Assessing the possible solutions, determining whether it is blatant or casual or unintentional infringement and examining the financial bottom line of litigation are just a few factors that should be considered when making the decision on how a company proceeds. Discussing the situation with an attorney will also be crucial.

Mon Aug 27, 4:03pm

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