If you were looking for a way to harm your brand's Q Score, you'd be hard pressed to find a better option than suing an upstart team just a game away from knocking off a dynasty. That's what Monster Energy has opted to do nonetheless. The beverage company is telling the proverbial David he owes royalties for the use of a patented slingshot, suing the Toronto Raptors over their slashed basketball logo because it looks too much like their clawed M insignia.
To be fair to Monster, the energy drink company filed suit all the way back in 2015. They claimed consumers would be confused by the similarity between the two logos and now it's up to a judge to decide.
"[Monster] has sold billions of dollars worth of goods under [its] mark," say the company's documents filed in June 2015. "[Monster] will be damaged by registration of the [Raptors] in that the mark will dilute the distinctive qualities of [Monster's] mark ... and will lessen the ability of [Monster's] mark to distinguish its goods."
The Raptors ownership think the suit is ridiculous. "In one case you have a very popular logo from an NBA franchise that everybody understands is Toronto Raptors," Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment said. "And on the other, you have a logo that everybody understands is Monster Energy. It appears on its face the logos are pretty different."
They have a point. Beyond the fact that they are both representations of claw marks—something both raptors and monsters have an obvious connection to—the way those marks are drawn is notably different. The Raptors claw marks taper and curve into the shape of basketball lines with no apparent connection at the top. Monster's marks form a distinct M and remain largely consistent in width.
Whether or not the claw logo will be relegated to history along with the Barney design is in the hands of a judge.