Brewers Association

Monsters Inc. 4: Trademark Laws

Monsters Inc. 4: Trademark Laws

The biblical showdown between brewer and behemoth ended "amicably" last month when Matt Nadeau, owner of Rock Art Brewery, put to rest the concerns of Hansen Beverage Corporation's CEO, Rodney Sacks, that Rock Art's Vermonster Ale was being confused with their Monster Energy Drink.

The two companies initially collided when Nadeau's Lawyer received a threatening letter from Hansen's intellectual property counsel regarding the trademark application for Rock Art’s anniversary barley wine, Vermonster. Nadeau was informed that even if his brewery had not infringed on the energy drinks name, the much larger and wealthier corporation could continue to attack until Rock Art Brewery complied or went bankrupt.

Read the initial correspondence (PDF file) sent to Rock Art, courtesy of the Burlington Free Press.

Nadeau vowed not to give up. He leveraged social media, using Facebook and Twitter accounts, to explain his position to his brewery patrons and gain a following. Fans posted various forms of protest on social networking sites calling for a boycott of the Hansen brand, including Monster Energy Drink. Hansen headquarters noticed the public upheaval, and once the two companies had a chance to talk, it was clear that there was no need for litigation. Vermonster can still be made and sold, and the Rock Art Brewery can proudly return to making craft beer as they did before receiving any notices from Hansen Beverage Corporation.

Read the statement, Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Reach Trade Agreement (PDF file).

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