Monster Mash: Minor League Hockey Team Prevails Over Energy Drink Giant in Trademark DisputeOctober 18, 2020

In the spirit of Halloween, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently issued an opinion settling an ongoing dispute between two monsters.

These monsters—energy drink company Monster Energy and a minor league hockey team named the Cleveland Monsters—found themselves at odds over the use of the “Monster” trademark. In particular, Monster Energy opposed the Cleveland Monsters’ attempts to register their name and corresponding logo with the USPTO.

Monster Energy’s opposition was hardly surprising, as the company is considered one of the TTAB’s most prolific litigants. Despite this experience, however, the Board ruled in favor of the Cleveland Monsters. In doing so, the Board explained that there were distinguishing elements (such as the “Cleveland” geographic identifier) between the marks and that there was no evidence of actual confusion by consumers despite the ongoing coexistence of both marks. Also relevant to the Board was the fact that Monster Energy had not challenged the Cleveland Monsters’ use of the “Monster” mark when the team used to be named the Lake Erie Monsters and that Monster Energy had even run a sweepstakes for Lake Erie Monster match tickets.

Thankfully for Monster Energy, there will likely be plenty of new “monsters” to turn their attention to during this Halloween season.

Nicholas J. Krob is an Associate Attorney in the TrademarkLicensing, and Litigation Practice Groups at McKee, Voorhees & Sease. For additional information, please visit or contact Nicholas directly via email at

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