Print 52 comment(s) - last by ShadowZERO.. on Apr 23 at 3:36 PM

Alright, what smart Monster Cable employee decided to initiate a fight with a small company headed by a skilled lawyer?

Monster Cable, known for its pricey boutique cables, which it markets to the audiophile community is no stranger to controversy.  The cable company markets the cables as having superior quality sound, but according to one infamous study "audio aficionados" supposedly were unable to tell the difference in sound between short monster cables and a short metal coat hanger forged into a crude connecter

While its merits are debatable, one hard fact is that Monster Cable has a penchant for agressive litigation.  It has sent letters accusing everyone from Monster Energy Drinks to Monsters Inc., the Disney/Pixar movie, of trademark infringement.  However, some its legal assaults are industry specific as well.  However, it appears it may have finally met its match in one small company, Blue Jeans Cable.

Monster Cable accused Blue Jeans Cable of ripping off its cable designs for Blue Jeans'  Tartan line of RCA-style cables.  Monster Cable sent Blue Jeans a cease-and-desist letter demanding it to suspend production.  Unfortunately for Monster Cable, Blue Jean's president, Kurt Denke was a skilled lawyer.

He sent a whopper of a response back to Monster Cable, dripping in detail, sarcasm, and legitimate demands that is sure to have Monster Cable's legal team sweating.

Denke states:
 Let me begin by stating, without equivocation, that I have no interest whatsoever in infringing upon any intellectual property belonging to Monster Cable. Indeed, the less my customers think my products resemble Monster's, in form or in function, the better ... If there is more than one such connector design in actual use by Monster Cable as to which appropriation of trade dress is alleged, of course, I will require this information for each and every such design. On the basis of what I have seen, both in the USPTO documents you have sent and the actual appearance of Monster Cable connectors which I have observed in use in commerce, it does not appear to me that Monster Cable is in a position to advance a nonfrivolous claim for infringement of these marks.
I will also point out to you that if you do choose to undertake litigation, your "upside" is tremendously limited.  If you somehow managed, despite the formidable obstacles in your way, to obtain a finding of infringement, and if you were successful at recovering a large licensing fee--say, ten cents per connector--as the measure of damages, your recovery to date would not reach four figures.  On the downside, I will advance defenses which, if successful, will substantially undermine your future efforts to use these patents and marks to threaten others with these types of actions; as you are of course aware, it is easier today for your competitors to use collateral estoppel offensively than it ever has been before.  Also, there is little doubt that making baseless claims of trade dress infringement and design patent infringement is an improper business tactic, which can give rise to unfair competition claims, and for a company of Monster's size, potential antitrust violations with treble damages and attorneys' fees.
The lengthy full letter that is released here raises many good points.  Monster Cable's claims are tenuous at best as many of its patents fall under products where there was significant prior art.  For a company with more junk legal threats than the Church of Scientology, there is a "boy who cried wolf" aura to the suit.

Nonetheless it would be unsurprising to see a lesser small-company bow down and kowtow to Monster Cable, fearful of the larger company's resources.  However, like any bully it appears Monster Cable has finally met its match.

I'm no lawyer, and this is not a legal opinion, Monster Cable could turn out to have legitimate gripes, but as I said their claims seem pretty tenuous and reek of just another chapter in this era of junk litigation.

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Skilled attorney...?
By masher2 on 4/17/2008 8:58:36 PM , Rating: 2
> "He sent a whopper of a response back to Monster Cable, dripping in detail, sarcasm, and legitimate demands that is sure to have Monster Cable's legal team sweating..."

Err, snarky comments in a letter really isn't that effective of a legal tactic. While the response was certainly amusing, I didn't see anything in it to make a legal team "sweat". Certainly the threat of a monopoly status claim against Monster Cable is silly...despite their name, they're a tiny player in the cable industry.

RE: Skilled attorney...?
By SandmanWN on 4/18/2008 10:28:06 AM , Rating: 2
Its Mick... We see the sensationalism in every article and the rest of us are gradually becoming desensitized by the usual attention grabbing tactics.

But its good to see a DT writer picking up on what a lot of people have been complaining about for some time now.

RE: Skilled attorney...?
By masher2 on 4/18/2008 3:34:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well I agree with Mick's basic points here. Monster is in the wrong, and this company has a right to stand up for themself, and has done so in (what may eventually be) an effective manner.

I do think its sensationalized somewhat...but blog postings should have a bit more latitude.

RE: Skilled attorney...?
By SandmanWN on 4/18/2008 5:29:57 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with his points sometimes as well, but the articles are getting more sensationalized to the point where I just want the news.

RE: Skilled attorney...?
By MozeeToby on 4/18/2008 11:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
What's posted here is not the complete letter, not even close. The complete letter includes several legal arguments to refute Monster's claims (including that an expired, Monster owned, patent has prior art, meaning they knew about it and could be held responsible for their fivolous lawsuits).

It also includes demands for literally hundreds of documents which Blue Jeans Cable is legally entitled to if they are required to defend themselves. Basically telling Monster that Blue Jeans Cable is not going to roll over and settle, and if Monster wants to take it to court, it is going to cost them hundreds of hours of work.

Finally, there is even the semi-veiled threat of exposing Monster's tax shelter sham company. Apparently, Monster created a company on some Carribean island, sold their patents to it, and now pays huge sums to liscense those patents. This allows Monster to hide large amounts of income from the IRS since the liscensing fees count against their profits. This is borderline illegal and would probably result in atleast an investigation into Monster's accounting practices.

Follow the link, read the complete letter.

RE: Skilled attorney...?
By SilthDraeth on 4/18/2008 11:22:45 AM , Rating: 2
I read the full article, and there are a few snarky comments, but it does request a lot of information.

But as the other guy pointed out in his response to you...Jason Mick is a sensationalist. I find I do not care for his articles. The only reason I read this one through was the subject matter of going after Monster Cables.

RE: Skilled attorney...?
By Zoomer on 4/22/2008 7:45:08 PM , Rating: 2
Basically a very lawerly response: Do you really want to spend a ton of money on this, which you know you will not win?

Go pick a fight with someone else.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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