We have a good old trademark battle unleashed before the USPTO. Marvel’s attempt to register a trademark concerning a comic book story arc named MONSTERS UNLEASHED! was opposed by the company that distributes Monster Energy drink and now Marvel has responded and moved to cancel Monster Energy’s trademark.

Image of Monsters Unleashed!

Cover of one of the original Marvel Monsters Unleashed! magazines.

From 1973 to 1975, Marvel ran an 11 part magazine entitled “Monsters Unleashed!” which told stories of the horror / monster part of the Marvel Universe including such characters as Frankenstein, Dracula, Man-Thing, and Wendigo. In January 2017, the name was brought back to life and told the story of Marvel superheroes fighting monsters that appeared all over the planet. In March 2017, Marvel filed the trademark registration application to formally register MONSTERS UNLEASHED! Interesting, Marvel did not refer to the old 1970’s line of comics and claimed first usage only back to January 2017. However, Marvel’s use of the term pre-dated Monster Energy and more about that below.

Monster Energy is no stranger to such battles. The company has be famous (infamous) for opposing numerous trademarks that contain the MONSTER mark. On Halloween, (spooooky) Monster Energy opposed the issuance of the MONSTERS UNLEASHED! trademark. Since 2002, Monster Energy has used the term MONSTER in association with its energy drink and related products. Monster Energy also owns several trademark for the term UNLEASH THE BEAST.

Marvel has responded to the opposition and brought up some facts previously mentioned by this blog’s learned author when we first told you this story. Marvel claims first use to the trademark back to 1973 in its response to the opposition; and Marvel moves to partially cancel Monster Energy’s trademark registration. Both marks are in class 14 and Marvel seeks to limit the description of Monster Energy’s trademark since they have not ever put out a comic book using the MONSTER mark. Marvel claims the pre-existing mark should be cancelled in part and restricted by limiting the identification of goods to add the following to the end of the identification: “all of the foregoing related to the promotion of registrant’s energy drinks and excluding comic books and comic book characters.”

I am sure the parties tried to discuss settlement but I guess peaceful talks didn’t win out. Seems like there is an easy settlement to be reached here with a simple modification to both trademark descriptions that could save the parties money and time but, hey, at least it gives me something to write about.