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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RE: The whole letter is a good read
By callmeroy on 4/18/2008 3:51:56 PM , Rating: 2
Too true. Its amazing people actually think the " quality " of a piece of copper carrying a digital signal matters in the LEAST when its only going 6 feet !!

While I tend lie in the same camp as you on this one - I don't really give a rat's arse about such thigns -- price is what matters to me and as long as I get an "expected" level of quality out of the product I'm happy. So in my world a $50 cable and a $20 cable (just example figures) looks the same to me except the difference is $30. :)

However there are people in this world that would beg to differ with us both. There was one guy, he wasn't my friend - he hung around another friend of mine because they use to work together -- talk about an audio geek -- as soon as I saw this topic i thought of him. He swear up and down that the quality of the cables matter and there are minute details that "common folk" over look....

All I know - I don't have a movie star's budget and I don't need my home equipment to be approved and certified by SkyWalker sound just to watch an episode of Family Guy or say Band of Brothers...

RE: The whole letter is a good read
By Reclaimer77 on 4/18/2008 5:08:57 PM , Rating: 2
However there are people in this world that would beg to differ with us both. There was one guy, he wasn't my friend - he hung around another friend of mine because they use to work together -- talk about an audio geek -- as soon as I saw this topic i thought of him. He swear up and down that the quality of the cables matter and there are minute details that "common folk" over look....

I call guys like that " douchy audiophilles ". They really just think they are better because they spent more money, and try to justify it.

By ShadowZERO on 4/21/2008 5:20:35 PM , Rating: 2
Or maybe its actually possible, just like with every other part of human physiology, there could actually be people with born with sharper ears than most?

Forgive my sarcasm, but I used to know a DJ named Def Jeff. He would spin records all day, and he could really only hear the bass. You had to yell for him to hear you speak, and yet he was just as much of an "audiophile" as anyone I've ever met.

Point is, you don't have to have sharp ears to love and enjoy music. But if you do, it can be a great thing. Its "douchy" to be arrogant about your hearing quality, but even more "douchy" to not respect someone elses.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs
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