'Monster' Of A Trademark Dispute Settled

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Beer drinkers are a loyal bunch, so when one of their favorite microbrews, Vermonster, got entangled in a copyright dispute they fought back on the Internet. Now the fight between the small Vermont brewery and the maker of Monster energy drinks has been settled.


A microbrewer in Vermont recently found himself in a trademark dispute with a big beverage company. His Vermonster beer sounded too similar - so it was said -to Hansen Beverage's Monster Energy Drink. Hansen may not have anticipated the cyber support campaign waged by Vermonster's loyal fans to save the beer that they love.

And from Vermont Public Radio, Charlotte Albright has more.

CHARLOTTE ALBRIGHT: It's late afternoon, tasting time at the nondescript Rock Art Brewery. In his office next to the bar, founder Matt Nadeau recalls how this mess began last month with a threatening letter from Hansen Beverages.

Hansen accused him of unfairly embedding its trademark name - Monster - in his new, high-alcohol brand Vermonster beer.

Mr. MATT NADEAU (Founder, Rock Art Brewery): What do you mean, cease and desist? I'm not doing anything wrong. So certainly at first I was scared, you know. What do you do?

ALBRIGHT: Nadeau's lawyer assured him he was in the right, but warned that a costly court battle could drive his business into the ground. Then Nadeau's wife sent an email message to friends and customers. A college student started an anti-Monster Facebook page. The Internet went wild. Some stores began to boycott Monster.

Yesterday, the combatants declared a truce. Rodney Sacks, CEO of Hansen Beverage, claims Monster never intended to drive Vermonster out of the market. However, he did get the brewer to promise to stay out of the energy drink business.

For NPR News, I'm Charlotte Albright in northern Vermont.

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NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Correction Oct. 28, 2009

In early on-air versions of this story, we described the dispute as a copyright dispute. That is incorrect. It is a trademark dispute.



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