November 2019. Sometimes you ask yourself “why?” Why invest time and money in an opposition against a trademark that’s nothing like your own? This is the thought that’s prompted by the recent decision by the Monster Energy company to oppose a new EU registration by the German Merck company.

Left: Merck’s new logo; right: some of Monster’s trademark registrations

No visual similarity whatsoever

Monster based its opposition against the new Merck logo on a large number (16!) of trademark registrations it owned to its stylised ‘M’. All to no avail, however. On 4 October, European Trademark Office EUIPO’s Opposition Division concluded that there was no visual similarity whatsoever between the trademarks. The sole overlap was that both images could be seen as a letter M, which is not enough for anyone to confuse them.

Reputation also doesn’t help

What’s more, despite the reputation of Monster’s M logo, EUIPO added, consumers wouldn’t draw any link between these two visually entirely different device marks. Result: opposition turned down, not surprisingly.

Monster’s well-known logo couldn’t stop these trademarks either: conclusion – no similarity

Not the first time

This isn’t the first time Monster has come a cropper when filing an opposition. For some time now, it has energetically tried to clear the trademark register of trademarks containing visual elements that resemble parallel scratches such as those in its own logo. These attempts frequently fail: it lost all the oppositions it filed against the above trademarks due to insufficient similarity.


Bas Kist