04.09They’re baaack! Monster Cable sues Monster Transmission
Thank goodness for Monster Cable. No, really. I mean, every cause needs a poster child, right? And the poster child for the excess of ownership in this country is, without a doubt, Monster Cable, which has sued everyone from a blue jeans maker to a mini-golf operator to the Boston Red Sox and their attempts to trademark refreshments named after the Green Monster — all, apparently, without any obvious sense of shame or even awareness that its actions, as a company, might be just a shade beyond the pale.
After the mini-golf debacle, which was truly a blizzard of terrible press for Monster, one might have thought the company would take a step back and consider the damage it’s doing to its name (so to speak). But no. Per Audioholics.com, Monster has filed suit against Monster Transmission, which, according to the site, is “a family owned [sic] company that specializes in high performance transmissions for hot rods & muscle cars.” They do seem to have a knack for finding sympathetic targets, don’t they?
But here’s the disturbing thing about Monster and its unbelievably overzealous trademark-protection strategy: they’re winning. See, Monster is operating under the assumption that its brand is a famous trademark, such as Coca-Cola, Sony, Rolex, or Microsoft (although at least those other famous trademarks have the decency not to contain incredibly common everyday terms!). Even though, per the Wall Street Journal, Monster has never obtained a court ruling that puts it on par with, say, McDonald’s, they’re flinging lawsuits with a vigor better befitting Visa or Camel. And like I said, it’s working.
Discovery Channel, Disney, the Red Sox, and countless others have either changed their marketing and promotion or licensed the term Monster from Monster Cable for use in projects that were entirely unrelated to, well, cables. That means that no matter how much the company may be vilified online, it’s got little real incentive to stop acting like sole proprietors of the word “monster.” And that’s got to stop.
Monster Cable told the Wall Street Journal that it received some 200 complaint letters from consumers over the Monster Mini-Golf incident. That led the company to withdraw its lawsuit and pay the legal expenses of the couple who owns the mini-golf company. If that’s what 200 letters can do — and frankly, I consider that a surprisingly paltry number — think what a full-fledged letter-writing campaign, or even a boycott, could do. Because, honestly, you could argue that the real evil of Monster Cable is the price of their cables, whose value to most consumers is dubious at best. It shouldn’t be a particularly hard boycott to engage in, but the key is to let them know you’re doing it, because this is wildly out of hand. It’s one thing to be afraid of the monster in the closet, but for every business in America to have to live in fear of a manufacturer of multimedia accessories seems, well, ludicrous. Monster Cable, you ain’t no Coca-Cola.
UPDATE: See the comments below, wherein Monster Ted says this lawsuit was filed last year, and they’re working to bring it to a close. Though Engadget notes that the owner of Monster Transmission says they’re not close to settling, and really, does any of that change the fact that there was, in fact, a lawsuit against Monster Transmission and still is? Still, nice to see they’re paying attention to consumer concerns over all this insanity.