FYI, here's the email Hansen Beverage just sent out (I guess I'm on their mailing list of people interested in the trademark dispute because I emailed them about it). Nice to see the uprising of social networks and Internet communities for Rock Art made some difference.
Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery
Reach Trademark Agreement
October 26, 2009
Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery today issued the following statement in connection with a recent trademark issue:
Hansen Beverage Company and Rock Art Brewery have reached an amicable agreement under which both companies' respective products will be protected - Hansen's Monster Energy® line of energy drinks and Rock Art's Vermonster beer products.
> Rodney Sacks, Hansen's chief executive officer, said: "We are pleased that we were able to resolve this matter expeditiously and put the concerns that had arisen behind us so that both parties can concentrate on their day-to-day businesses, selling their respective high-quality products. Our intent in this matter was simply to protect Hansen's trademarks and prevent any likelihood of confusion arising in the future through potential product extensions and was not to prevent Rock Art Brewery from selling their Vermonster beer."
> Matt Nadeau, owner of Rock Art Brewery, said: "Once Rodney and I were able to talk to each other we quickly appreciated each other's points of view and he acted reasonably, which allowed us to rapidly come to an agreement we are both happy with and allows both of us to move forward positively."
I saw some people on this thread talking about corporate greed. I don't think that's what this was really. The real problem is trademark law, which obligates a company to dispute any potential trademark infraction, even if there's only a remote overlap. So if you want someone to blame, blame the lawyers, not corporate greed. : ) (And in this case I'd say Hansen has over-zealous lawyers, since the connection between Monster and Vermonster is so remote. Now if a brewery decided to name themself "Monster", that would be a legitimate trademark concern).