BAS Message
December 2009

Webmasters Note: This space will now (from May, 2009 forward) be called The BAS Message, since it may be written by someone other than the President of the BAS. —Barry

1. "The Scariest Monster of All Sues for Trademark Infringement"

When Christina and Patrick Vitagliano dreamed up their Monster Mini Golf franchises--18-hole, indoor putting greens straddled by glow-in-the-dark statues of ghouls and gargolyles--they never imagined that a California maker of high-end audio cables would object.

But Monster Cable Products Inc., which holds more than 70 trademarks on the word monster, challenged the Vitaglianos' tradmark applications. It filed a federal lawsuit against their company in California and demanded the Rhode Island couple surrender the name and pay at least $80,000 for the right to use it. Since it was granted its first "Monster" trademark in 1980 the company has fought more monsters than Godzilla did. It has gone after purveyors of monster-branded auto transmissions, slot machines, glue, carpet-cleaning machines and an energy drink, as well as a woman who sells "Junk Food Monster" kids' T-shirts that promote good eating habits. It sued Walt disney over products tied to the film "Monster Inc." and opposed the Boston Red Sox trademark applications for seats and hot dogs named for the Green Monster, the legendary left-field wall in Fenway Park.

"Monster Cables's practice of suing anyone using the word 'Monster' in their name is nothing short of playground bullying," says Robert Holloway, a computer contractor in Iowa who set up a Web site called to support the Vitaglianos.

After receiving at least 200 angry consumer complaints, Monster Cable's Noel Lee decided to drop the lawsuit and pay up to $200,000 of their legal expenses. WSJ 4Ap09

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updated 12/29/09