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24

C Is For Cease And Desist

April 12, 2023 by Tim

Monster Energy Drinks is suing some indie game developer because their game (Dark Deception: Monsters & Mortals) has “Monster” in the title (they went after Ubisoft some time back for a similar reason).

A friend of mine joked that Capcom had better watch out, but I found out that Monster (the energy drink, not the job search website, or Loch Ness resident) already tried to file trademark claims against Monster Hunter (and Pokemon, and dozens of others), but the Japanese told them to go fuck themselves.

What a bunch of trademark trolls.


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Maurice
Maurice
10 months ago

Yeah, they really are, they also filed against the PokeMon group for “Pocket Monsters” being infringement. How stupid!

Extreme
Extreme
10 months ago
Reply to  Maurice

I really wish Nintendo had claimed prior art and countersued Monster to tell them to stop using the word Monster.

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
10 months ago
Reply to  Extreme

I want to see them try to go sue Disney, for “Monsters, Inc.”

Disney will end up owning Monster by the end of it.

jane
jane
10 months ago
Reply to  Eldest Gruff

the secret master end goal

Michael Delaney
Michael Delaney
10 months ago
Reply to  Maurice

Well the reason they withdrew after severing a basic cease and desist letter is cause Pokemon would of reminded them that they existed BEFORE them. Pokemon existed since 1996… Monster Energy is 2002. Pokemon could argue they were first and null and void Monsters claims to even the word even shattering their right to the name in general… same with Cookie Monster (1966) or Monsters Inc (2001) Even Monster Hunter couldn’t lose to Monster Energy, cause they didn’t file claims back in 2004… which has allowed them to cement their name as a distinct and separate entity after 17 titles.… Read more »

Olivia
Olivia
10 months ago

I thought that suits like this only work if the other company is in a similar market. Like if a new company that sold drinks or maybe even food and used the word monster in it. But games and drinks are two completely different things…

Conundrum32068
Conundrum32068
8 months ago
Reply to  Olivia

They dont’ hold up in court AT ALL. You can’t trademark a common word like Monster. But almost noone fights this in court and if they find someone who will they quickly withdraw the claim so their trademark doesn’t get laughed out of some judges docket.

DarkMetatron
DarkMetatron
10 months ago

Behavior like this will put a company on a personal “if possible never buy again” list very quickly.

Last edited 10 months ago by DarkMetatron
Maxwell
Maxwell
10 months ago
Reply to  DarkMetatron

Since Nintendo is the leading example of such behaviour more and more companies will look at this as a normal practice. Maybe Nintendo will come to their senses when they will have to focus efforts not on copyrights but on PCs encroaching into their territory (SteamDeck, Asus ROG Ally, etc.) and then people will be able to enjoy sharing their fansubs once more.

no thanks nintendo
no thanks nintendo
10 months ago
Reply to  Maxwell

Nintendo is not the leading example of this. They’re going after actual violations of their trademarks and copyrights. Fan games are not and never will be legal, and other publishers selectively not going after them (SEGA takes down Streets of Rage stuff but leaves Sonic stuff alone, very strange) doesn’t suddenly make them legal and doesn’t make Nintendo the bad guy for enforcing their rights. Monster Energy Drinks is not – they may have a trademark and copyright on “Monster” for energy drinks but their rights do not extend to video games. There is no world where someone hears the… Read more »

ComradeCousin
ComradeCousin
10 months ago

I guess you weren’t around for Nintendo copyright-striking Youtubers who used self-recorded footage from their games then.

Jacob Field
Jacob Field
10 months ago
Reply to  ComradeCousin

. . . Uh, recordings of video games also fall under the legal gray area of “distributing copyrighted material,” in the form of music, duplicating the characters’ likenesses, providing public access to imagery that people are supposed to buy the game and pay for to see, etc. Note: not DEFENDING Nintendo for this, because fair use exists and they should lighten up a LOT, just pointing out that it is NOTHING like Monster. Nintendo has an actual case (obnoxious and pedantic and petty though it may be). By contrast, Monster has ZERO standing, because trademarks are industry-specific, which means they… Read more »

Svafa
Svafa
10 months ago
Reply to  Jacob Field

One aspect of Nintendo’s doggedness on this, is that “fair use” is much stricter in Japan. Basically, if it’s not specifically being reproduced for schools or libraries, court proceedings, or for those with disabilities, then it is not fair use.

scottsmom
scottsmom
10 months ago
Reply to  ComradeCousin

And their frequent outlashes against archive.org. Luckily they’ve thus far been told in legal terms to go lick a duck.

Silo
Silo
10 months ago
Reply to  ComradeCousin

Not the same at all. It doesn’t matter if it’s self recorded. If I record myself watching a movie and post it on YouTube it’s still within a companies right to file a strike. There isn’t some magical exception for let’s plays. Let’s players have to walk a fine line in between copyright grey areas. Fair use laws are sketchy at best

Pajuka
Pajuka
10 months ago
Reply to  Silo

First, fair use isn’t a law, it’s a legal defense. You’re saying your use of the media was fair and acceptable according to the terms of the copyright. Basically its saying “you said I can do this, and now your suing me for doing exactly this? Go f**k yourself.” But that depends on what the terms are – and most of the time it’s a question of “can it be considered a replacement for the original?” Which puts fan games in a tricky spot – if they match the characters and mechanics of the original, even if it’s a completely… Read more »

Svafa
Svafa
10 months ago
Reply to  Pajuka

You don’t have to defend a copyright; you don’t lose a copyright, just because you let someone get away with a violation of it. That’s only true of trademarks (and still a little bit of a simplification of it).

raven0ak
raven0ak
10 months ago
Reply to  Svafa

If there becomes cases where you dont defend trademark, then any future violation of trademark can point to inaction as precedence

Eodyne
Eodyne
10 months ago
Reply to  ComradeCousin

Pretty much the entire videogame streaming system exists at the sufferance of the game publishers.

leduk
leduk
10 months ago
Reply to  Eodyne

how so? bc streamers are making free ads for the games?

Eodyne
Eodyne
10 months ago
Reply to  leduk

One clarification: this is based on U.S. law
Because streaming a video game is, legally, a “performance” of the game and the copyright holders have exclusive rights to that.
So they have the ability and power to shut down streams of their game at pretty much anytime.
It’s, at best, a big gray area.

Eldest Gruff
Eldest Gruff
10 months ago

Really, REALLY weird to see no thanks nintendo backing Nintendo on something – especially their legal activities – and saying that it “doesn’t make Nintendo the bad guy.”

Like, honestly making me question right now if I’ve stepped into an alternate timeline or if I’m really still asleep and this is all just a dream.

Tom K
Tom K
10 months ago
Reply to  DarkMetatron

I’m not strong enough to do that lol. I try, and then I remember Irish Monster Java…

leduk
leduk
10 months ago
Reply to  DarkMetatron

sadly most companies are like that tbh. I will still buy the next Zelda….

MarcKS
MarcKS
10 months ago
Reply to  DarkMetatron

Unfortunately, their behaviour is essentially forced by the nature of the trademark system.
If you don’t “defend” your trademark (essentially if you allow your trademark to become diluted by common use) then you can lose the legal protection on your trademark.

That being said… Monster probably cheaped on whomever they hired to protect ttheir trademark because ALOT of the cases they’ve brought are clearly not infringing uses of the word Monster (which is a common language word) and CLEARLY consumers will not be confused about the relationship of the use to the energy drink company.

Merendel
Merendel
10 months ago
Reply to  MarcKS

If they wanted to be that aggressive in defending their trademark maybe they should have thought about using a less common word. What they are doing is the equivalent of calling themselves “The Energy Drink” and filing cease and desists on anybody that uses the word “The” in the title of anything. Its not going to fly if anybody actually forces them to take it to court.

I still cant believe Ubisoft caved. They really should have told monster to pound sand. if they had they would have won and hopefully monster wouldn’t be pulling this BS anymore.

Marsh
Marsh
10 months ago

Maybe it’s a publicity stunt. Though it’s not like they’re famous enough already.

splitcog
splitcog
10 months ago
Reply to  Marsh

It’s really not. Monster has been doing this for over ten years. If you have monster in your name, and especially if the M in your logo is in any way stylized, they’re coming for you as soon as they hear about you. I know the monsterfishkeepers forum also had this problem (stylized M that really couldnt be confused with the three claw marks).

Marsh
Marsh
10 months ago
Reply to  splitcog

Huh, guess it’ll be a battle of the lawyers then

Bobismeisbob
Bobismeisbob
10 months ago
Reply to  Marsh

Which small companies starting out can’t afford as easily.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward
10 months ago

Same, I can’t see the comic!

LazerWulf
LazerWulf
10 months ago

Reminds me of the time Candy Crush Saga tried to stop that one app from using the term “Saga”, but going by the actual definition of a “Saga”, the app, being some kind of Viking game, was more of a Saga than Candy Crush would ever be.

Cicgnar
Cicgnar
10 months ago
Reply to  LazerWulf

It was not an app, but a game funded by kickstarter iirc. The game was quite a success and even got a sequel (or two, if you count the online match thing they had until eventually they removed)

Kelibath
Kelibath
10 months ago
Reply to  Cicgnar

The Banner Saga. It was absolutely fantastic, honestly, strongly recommend.

Lauren
Lauren
10 months ago

That feels like great publicity for the indie game though!

Bubble181
Bubble181
10 months ago

There’s also something funky going on with the Archive. According to the archive pages the last comic posted was march 20th, about the gold-in-trees economy. The whole “we got your games box” storyline is MIA.

Thomas D
Thomas D
10 months ago
Reply to  Bubble181

Nope, that’s another archive 🙂
https://cad-comic.com/category/ctrl-alt-del/

R77
R77
10 months ago
Reply to  Bubble181

That is not a glitch, it is a feature. The archive is organized per topic, using the second dropdown menu allows you to chose what archive you would like to explore. From the game comics “Ctrl Alt Del” to the “Analog and D-pad” or just “All”.

I am sure when the folks across the pond wake up, had their caffeine dose, the above link will be fixed.

Pajuka
Pajuka
10 months ago
Reply to  Bubble181

How are you navigating? Cause the green arrows navigate strictly by chronological order, but the comic arrows (aka taping left and right on the comics) navigates by issue first, then release date (AKA it skips over unrelated comics, like Analog and D-Pad when reading The Console Wars). This is a “CAD” comic – which is what Tim uses for anything that isn’t Analog and D-Pad, Starcaster Cronicles, The Campaign, or the console wars. My guess this is for people who want to binge a particular comic series without having to go into the actual archive menus every 10 to 12… Read more »

Henchman Twenty1
Henchman Twenty1
10 months ago

Of course the law firms (parasites) and going to tell their clients (hosts) to sue for frivolous copyright violations left and right because, win or lose, they still get their fees. I at least hope that if the targets can successfully defend they can also recoup their own legal fees from the suing entity.

Lawyers are scum…. until you need one.

Kenju
Kenju
10 months ago

Sounds like when Marvel and DC jointly copyrighted the word ‘Superhero’ so that others couldn’t use it for like, fifty years.

AustynSN
AustynSN
10 months ago

Yet they’re still not as bad as “Monster” cables back in the day.

DeGault
DeGault
10 months ago

Next they travel back in time and sue SCTV for Monster Chiller Horror Theater.

Stan
Stan
10 months ago

This is a Cease and Desist order; I have copyrighted the entire dictionary……
Next the Monster Truck people……;-)

Maxwell
Maxwell
10 months ago
Reply to  Stan

Is it me, or does “Cease and Desist” sound like it is another absolute people invented to give their opinions more weight? Maybe a little more serious than “cancel” absolute, since it is more used by actual law companies and law enforcers and not vblogging celebs.

GUNnibal
GUNnibal
10 months ago

-Oh my god, they sued Cookie Monster!
-You bastards!

Smiffwilm
Smiffwilm
10 months ago

Those Monsters!

FireballDragon
FireballDragon
10 months ago

If you tell me that your drink is such a fucking “monster” that there can be no other monsters, then you are a language criminal, and you belong in word jail.

Ciary
Ciary
10 months ago

So basically, what King did a few years back with the word “Saga” …

Gonfrask
Gonfrask
10 months ago

Need a fourth panel in which the monster cookie is attacking the lawyer while shouting “gimme cookies!!!”.
A lot of years ago, Apple sued a fruit shop here in Spain because its logo also was a bitten apple. Sometimes this is absurd.

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
10 months ago

Cookie monster should countersue for the cookies Monster’s website presumably uses.

birdjericho
birdjericho
10 months ago
Reply to  GeorgeV

CM: “ME ACCEPTED COOKIES ON LAPTOP, BUT NO GAVE COOKIES!!”

Judge, eyeing Monster Energy’s lawyers: “You know, the maniac has a point.”

Last edited 10 months ago by birdjericho
Rick Greene
Rick Greene
10 months ago

In a lawsuit of the user of the word “Monster” in a product, Sesame Street definitely has the edge, having been around a lot longer, but close on their heels could be Wizards of the Coast, the owners of Dungeons & Dragons, as it had the “Monster Manual” published back in 1977. If they try to leave the product space, the estate of Mary Shelly beats them soundly, with “Frankenstein’s Monster” from the novel first published in 1818. And I forget the production company, but there was the series “Monster Garage” aired on the Discovery Channel, though I am less… Read more »

birdjericho
birdjericho
10 months ago
Reply to  Rick Greene

From Word Monster: “The word ‘monster’ entered the English language somewhere between 1000–1200 AD, when William the Conqueror invaded England and brought the French language with him. The word ‘monster’ is derived from the French term ‘monstre’. ‘Monstre’ has roots in the Latin word ‘monstrum’, meaning ‘evil omen’. At the time, animals with strange appearances, i.e. birth defects, were seen as a bad omen. â€˜Monstrum’ was derived from the Latin word ‘monere’, which meant ‘to warn, remind, or instruct’. As omens were seen as warning signs for something bad to come, you can see how this all ties in nicely with… Read more »

Rolando
Rolando
10 months ago

Reminds me of this one case in my country. “Mamushka” is a brand that started as a high chocolate factory and shop, but became huge land owners as well.

They sued a small parking lot business thousands of miles away, for the name.

And they lost. Because, while they used that name just ‘cos they fancied it… The sole owner of the parking lots chose it because it’s his surname. And he proved it went back at least 6 generations in his family.

A lovely story of common sense winning.

Deyo
Deyo
10 months ago

Sad thing is, they will probably settle to avoid lengthy trials on these kangaroo courts.so it’s win

riv
riv
10 months ago

Seems like the sort of behavior that should get a trademark voided.

Roger
Roger
10 months ago

Usually, I don’t tell much here. But I need to say that your comic is on point.
I think that, for that specific event, reality is more absurd than your comic.

Or maybe, those guys have an ulterior motive (I’m sure they have, nobody is that stupid)

In any case, you couldn’t do a better comic than that. But I’m sure that if there was a postal address to the cookie monster, it would have received his lawsuit…

Saixak
Member
Saixak
10 months ago

This company believes that people can’t tell the difference between an energy drink and a video game.

tassadar7945
tassadar7945
10 months ago
Reply to  Saixak

considering how tied into “Gaming Culture” Monster is, they probably are making the argument that “monster” being used in the gaming world would cause trademark confusion, but it is stupid.

Saixak
Member
Saixak
10 months ago
Reply to  tassadar7945

Are they that tied into gaming, or do they wish they were the “gamer’s energy drink”? I don’t drink energy drinks, so I have no idea. I tried Red Bull years ago, and it tasted awful.

SBlack
SBlack
10 months ago
Reply to  tassadar7945

They aren’t just going after gaming companies though. But against all kinds of unrelated businesses. Even local ones “nobody” knows.

DeathUriel
DeathUriel
10 months ago

I wanted to say I wouldn’t drink from patent trolls anymore…
But I quit on energetics altogether, when you get to a point where a medic tells you, it would be better for you to just drink Coca Cola instead, then you know energetics are fucked.

MusicManD
MusicManD
10 months ago

Unfortunately, this is a weird quirk of trademark law in the US. You have to defend your trademark whenever applicable or that lack of defense can be used against you when someone really does infringe upon it.

Most of these suits are settled out of court for zero dollars because everyone involved knows what’s actually going on, but it’s bad optics when you don’t know what’s going on below the surface.

#NotALawyer #IJustReadABunchOfLegalNews

Dylan
Dylan
10 months ago
Reply to  MusicManD

Sortof, except trademarks also don’t apply across industries. You don’t have to defend your trademark of a drink named Monster from a Video game with Monster in its title because they are unrelated industries and can’t be an infringement to begin with (unless someone were specifically making an unlicensed Monster Energyâ„¢ video game like Pepsi Man or something). However, if someone makes a food or drink item with Monster in its title, you had better defend it or else it acts as permission.

MusicManD
MusicManD
10 months ago
Reply to  Dylan

Exactly. But “industries” are pretty vague sometimes, and sometimes you get an overzealous legal team that decides it’s close enough that they’d better cover their bases. Similar clientele and everything. I suspect it has little to do with this actual game and more about protecting themselves from actual infringement down the road.

ShonaSoF
ShonaSoF
10 months ago

There should be punishments for blatant patent trolling. it’s just a huge waste of time and money.

Ashi
Ashi
10 months ago
Reply to  ShonaSoF

But this is unrelated to patents.

TimeViewer
TimeViewer
10 months ago

They sue for one reason, advertisement.

Crestlinger
Crestlinger
10 months ago

Counter sue their asses for copyright infringement on a power up in the game! then cite that the game isn’t causing dehydration harm in people while the Drink is and has with numerous citations. For the safety of the public it is this company’s fervent wish that these drinks are Banned to the fiction the company represents alone.

Phaet
Phaet
10 months ago

Suing is one thing. Winning at court is another thing.
I mean one guy sued God and he lost. They made a movie about it. They changed the ending though.

jane
jane
10 months ago

wait until they learn about Mary Shelly and her novel Frankenstein where they DARE mention label someone a monster in Adam Frankenstein….

jane
jane
10 months ago

i hate energy drinks anyway. always make me feel ill so no loss avoiding their junk here.

Dom
Dom
10 months ago

Personally I’d be copyrighting *â„¢ (the wildcard character) if I ever went for the bad ending.

wakeangel2001
wakeangel2001
10 months ago

Hard to believe they’d even try, the law outright says you can’t trademark a regular word, they didn’t make up “monster” so they can’t trademark it. It’s exactly like when Trump tried to trademark the phrase “you’re fired”

Lemming
Lemming
10 months ago
Reply to  wakeangel2001

You can trademark regular words if you’re in an unrelated industry. You can’t trademark the word “apple” if you’re selling fruit, but you can if you’re selling computers. The problem here is Monster suing companies in other industries.

Pulse
Pulse
10 months ago

bethesda and scrolls, sky tv and sky, edge magazine and edge. ya nothing new

Mirra
Mirra
10 months ago
Reply to  Pulse

Bethesda and Scrolls was a different scenario. It was Mojang who was trying to trademark “Scrolls”. Bethesda was fighting that because it would enable Mojang to make this kind of harassing.

Tycho
Tycho
10 months ago

I heard about a lawsuit years ago against Monster Mini Golf in Florida, I think. It was typical lawyers batting dynamite around until the CEOs had a lunch together. Monster the job search decided suing a local place into oblivion was mean and even paid their lawyer fees. The mini golf place offered them free rounds for life. Too bad we can’t have more of those stories

Pyre
Pyre
10 months ago

To throw another company that’s done this on the fire: Between Episode 1 and 2, Lucasfilm tried to sue anyone using anything even remotely related to Episode 1 including the words in the title. I learned of this when they sent a C&D to a UT mapper “Badkarma” because he had made a number of Star Wars Themed UT maps. He took the maps down for a day or two to talk over the situation with the family. Then he put them back up along with photographic evidence of the C&D. The Unreal community’s response was swift and VERY angry.… Read more »

Ben
Ben
10 months ago

I remember Bethesda suing Mojang for his planned game “Scrolls” because they have The Elder Scrolls

However, as I remember it, US copyright law is such that any possible copyright infringement HAS to be persued, because if they don’t, they are almost completely s*** outta luck in later such cases. (I do not know how true this is, going by word of mouth)

That’s why the golden McDonalds sued a scottish restaurant of the same name which had been around for over a century

Mirra
Mirra
10 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Then you remember it wrong. Mojang was actively trying to trademark “Scrolls” a generic word. Bethesda was fighting that decision.

VibrantEvolution
VibrantEvolution
10 months ago

apparantly they are allowing them to keep the name tho as long as they agree with a bunch of terms like not using the words “beast” and “unleash” or variants of the word monster like “monsta”, “monstrous” or “monstrosity or using white and green letters on a black background in a claw-like font or not doing anything with 3 parallel lines cuz it’ll look too much like their M logo. Not that I don’t think any of this is utter crap. Ubisoft’s Immortals: Fenyx Rising was also originally called Gods and Monsters and that’s apparantly also their doing. I’d remake… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by VibrantEvolution
sasparillafizz
sasparillafizz
10 months ago

This has to be some kind of marketing tactic. There’s no way they can be dumb enough to think it actually has a chance in court, so it must be some way of getting their name in headlines or something. Even bad press is press or the like.

Sanquin
Sanquin
10 months ago

Trademark trolls like Monster need to be fined for every stupid claim they make, imo. Like sure, if another Energy Drink brand decided to call theirs “Monster” as well then they’d have a case. But for everything else? The case should be thrown out immediatly and the company behind Monster fined like 50k for their bullshit.

superkamimarvin
superkamimarvin
10 months ago

i like the drink but wtf is going on with them seriusly

Jasen
Jasen
10 months ago

Heh. Monster Energy Drinks will be the one in court. Iirc, “Cookie Monster” was around for quite a while before they were. 1966 commercial according to wiki

Last edited 10 months ago by Jasen
WMS
WMS
10 months ago

Look up Monster Energy v Thunder beast Rootbeer. Monster is a trademark troll and bully of the first level.

Garrett
Garrett
10 months ago

it makes me wonder if who evers in charge of this doesnt understand how trade mark law works. its obvious that they dont own the word “monster” they control it when in relation to energy drinks but anything that isnt some kind of beverage is not in their wheelhouse.

An IP Lawyer
An IP Lawyer
10 months ago

It’s a little more complex that that, and these stories are almost always reported backwards… Monster isn’t suing Glowstick Entertainment, and they didn’t file any trademark claims against them or Nintendo or Ubisoft. Instead, while Monster does claim to have exclusive commercial rights to the word “Monster” for various goods and services, so do Glowstick, Nintendo, and Ubisoft! In each of these cases, those latter entities have filed trademark applications and are claiming exclusive rights to the word. Glowstick, for example, filed trademark application no. 97089030 that includes the word Monster. Monster is opposing that application, claiming that it shouldn’t… Read more »

Quilty
Quilty
10 months ago

they sued pokemon forever ago iirc