Yesterday, the “Stop the Bully” webpage created by Monster Mini Golf after being embroiled in a trademark dispute with Monster Cable reported that the parties reached an amicable resolution to their dispute – with Monster Cable dropping the lawsuit and the opposition against Monster Mini Golf thereby allowing Monster Mini Golf to proceed with registering its mark MONSTER MINI GOLF. WebProNews had an article about the settlement. If you want to get Monster Cable’s own perspective of the ongoing events surrounding the case, you can read their own webpage “Monster Truth on Monster Mini Golf.”
Noel Lee, president of Monster Cable Products (or as he likes to call himself, “The Head Monster”), apparently spoke with Christina and Patrick Vitagliano, the owners of Monster Mini Golf, about the situation and followed-up with a letter to them (which you can read in its entirety here).
I will say that this is a landmark kind of situation, as public opinion wins over what is the right thing to do for trademark protection of a famous mark. We have made the decision that public opinion, and that of our valued customers is more important than the letter of the law that requires us to prevent the dilution of our mark risk losing it.
Finally, its disingenuous for Lee to assert that the law requires Monster to prevent dilution of Monster’s mark “or risk losing it.” At most, Monster Cable, by not going after every single company in the world using the word MONSTER in connection with there business (regardless of the goods or services sold), weakens its ability to rely upon federal dilution law to attack companies using the word MONSTER in a non-confusing way on non-competing goods. But Monster Cable is not going to “risk losing” its trademark rights to the MONSTER mark in connection with cables and other similar goods sold by Monster Cable merely by allowing some mini-golf course to go by the name Monster Mini Golf.
Of course, I don’t want to come off too critical of Mr. Lee because, by settling this matter in the way he did and reimbursing the couple for their attorney’s fees, he did indeed do something very good and worthy of praise – even if he may have done it for the wrong reasons.