Monster Cable: We’re Not A Corporate Bully

Blogosphere puts Head Monster on defense

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The Internet can make or break you PR-wise. After a couple of weeks of Monster Mini Golf taking its tale of corporate bullying to the Web, Monster Cable has suddenly responded, at length. “Head Monster” at Monster Cable Noel Lee says Christina and Patrick Vitagliano are using people’s sympathy to further their own agenda, and that Monster Cable does not like suing people.

After coverage on an NBC affiliate, at least three condemning posts on Consumerist, an eBay fundraiser for legal fees, Christina Vitagliano’s side of the story, the blogosphere in general getting stirred up, Lee issued WebProNews this statement:

Regardless of what false representations have been circulated about Monster, we are not a faceless corporate giant out to squash legitimate business concerns and rising entrepreneurs. We are in fact, a family-owned company that relies heavily on our brand name and reputation in order to continue serving our customers. We have always tried to provide our customers with the highest performance products at an affordable price.

While we are best known for our cable products, we also manufacture high performance accessories in business areas ranging in home theater, computing, gaming, portable entertainment and power management. To protect these business areas, we have sought and been awarded trademarks for each respective category. In addition to the areas above, in the past 30 years, we have also expanded the categories including sports and other lifestyle ventures. According to the trademark law, we must enforce our marks or we will lose them and they will become generic.

We were trying our best to avoid the lawsuit, and we are trying our best to settle the lawsuit.

Monster Cable: We're Not A Corporate Bully
Though one might question use of the term “affordable”—Monster Cable’s products are notoriously expensive upgrades at electronics stores—and though one has to wonder if the term “monster” itself is already generic, Lee says his company’s protection of its trademark is no different from other companies like eBay (enforces ownership of “bay”), Apple, Virgin, or Amazon, all of which have names taken from commonly-used or dictionary words.

Google fought a losing battle a couple of years ago against the use of its mark as a verb and the entry of “to google” into the dictionary fearing the genericidal woes of Xerox and Kleenex. It stands to reason, then, according to Lee, that Monster would enforce ownership of its trademark wherever challenged.

Said enforcement presumably includes action against the Discovery Channel’s Monster Garage, Walt Disney’s Monsters Inc., and Hanna Barbara’s Scooby Doo and the Monster of Mexico.

It’s important to note that “action against” doesn’t always mean a lawsuit. In many cases, it is simple opposition filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office, which files 19 pages worth of such Monster Cable oppositions. This seems to be at the root of disputes about whether the company has filed hundreds of lawsuits or just opposed usage of the word “monster” at the USPTO.

“We have never sued the Chicago Bears. We have not filed 400 lawsuits,” said Lee, in a letter to angry customers concerned about reports of corporate bullying. “We don’t like lawsuits any more than any other company, and don’t like spending money on attorneys, especially in light of the current economic situation.”

Following that line of thought, perhaps that’s why Monster Cables must be priced at $100; litigation is expensive. If only these defendants would accept settlements and licensing fees, maybe Monster Cable could lower its prices.

Perhaps most important to note in this situation is, when it comes to public sentiment, the press, and even courtrooms, everything is reduced to narrative. While crying foul on the Vitaglianos’ “mom and pop” reputation—Christina Vitagliano admitted to WebProNews they were no longer any such type of business—Lee attempted to debunk the narrative that Monster Cable is a bully corporation picking on the little guys who can’t afford to defend themselves.

“It’s important to note that we are not some gigantic corporate bully as portrayed. We are also a small company with a great culture, still family owned with 500 employees in Brisbane California. We are not a public company with deep pockets. It’s not inconceivable that Monster Mini Golf could exceed the reach of Monster Cable with the trademark of Monster.”



Monster Cable: We’re Not A Corporate Bully
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  • http://www.intentionalfoul.com Chris

    Monster Cable sucks at the Internet and makes ridiculously overpriced products that offer ZERO A/V improvement. I mean, look at the image used in the article. $129 gussied up speaker wire? And they complain when someone blasts their “your paying for the name” product?

    Is this what the consuming world is coming to? Someone reviews your product, you don’t like the fact THEY don’t like it so you intimidate them with talk of money and lawyers? I’m surprised movie directors haven’t jumped on this bandwagon.

    Mr Ebert, are you saying “Twilight” sucks? Well then, I’m suing your “thumbs down” ass.

  • Delbert

    So I guess If a child claims there is a monster under it’s bed, that monster will in fact be a lawyer waiting to serve the child cease and desist orders. Due to unauthorized use of the word monster. Sounds monstrous to me…..

  • mpheadley

    I hadn’t been getting the paper for a long time and when we recently subscribed to the weekend edition and I saw in the Best Buy circular that they were charging like 130 dollars for an 8 ft. long cable of HDMI, I nearly fell off my seat! Now granted, I’m sure their quality is better than some of the cheap cables from ebay. BUT 120 dollars worth better?! I think not. When the upsell is this high, I consider it a scam!

  • Guest

    It is a plain shame consumers are “scammed” into buying this overpriced brand of products. – mostly becuase it is the ONLY brand that you will find at chain stores. -And you know the chain stores must have a healthy margin in the resale price to keep promoting this junk.
    You can take this to the bank: Monster HDMI / SVID / Component / Audio cables are NO BETTER than decent $5-$10 cables purchased online from reputable electronics parts distributors. Their speaker cable is the same internally as any inexpensive speaker cable.
    If you want to pay the extra $$ for the fancy box, “gold plated” ends and other silly adornments.. that is entirely up to you.
    Google search for HDMI cables and speaker cables- that is your friend!

    • MTL

      As some of you might have seen I have already replied to the our first guests comments above. Given the similarities in uneducated/falsified slanderous statements made here, one would conclude that these comments were made by the same “guest”.
      All I have to say is that 95% of the statements made by our “guest” here are false. There is not one chain electronic store in this country that sells only one name brand of cables, it has been proven that Monster Cable IS better, and the internal working and materials of Monster Cables’ cables are much different than most generic cables.

      There is a reason that Monster Cable has been in business for THIRTY YEARS. I will be the first to admit Monster Cable isn’t for everybody, but if you are a consumer that enjoys a) high quality A/V w/o interference, and b) peace of mind (guaranteed for life), Monster Cable is for you.

  • Guest

    Why don

    • MTL

      Unfortunately this comment I am replying to here is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t believe anything you here. The “guest” that left this comment apparently didn’t even think before he/she did so. There are countless “words” that are owned/trademarked by companies in many countries. Apparently this “guest” will also never do business with companies such as Apple, Virgin, Brother, Amazon, Citizens, Target, Caterpillar, etc. ( I could go on forever) SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY CHOSE TO USE EXISTING “WORDS” TO NAME THEIR COMPANY – This is why trademarking exists, isn’t it?
      I also love the accusation that Monster Cable is going after these companies to make money as well as the suggestions to “go after” bigger companies. This is further proving that our “guest” took no care in educating themselves before writing this defamatory comment. Monster Cable has filed complaints with the USPTO in regards to many of the companies our “guest” mentioned. Also one (with common knowledge) would assume it cost money when filing legal actions of any kind.
      I would like to ask consumers and “WPN readers” to educate themselves when it comes to purchasing any product. If it happens to be Audio/Video cables you are in the market for, I know Monster Cable is more expensive than most, but it is also happens to be the best (as in most industries ie. Mercedes, BMW – not cheap, but among the best). I apologize for diving in so deep, but our guest must have thought he was swimming in a puddle, perhaps with a little hard work and arm floaties one day he can join us in the deep end.

      • Guest

        Monster Cable is not the best by any measure. 1) It is not the most expensive. Yes, I know, but that seems to be the mark many use to judge audio products. If you want, you can spend 10x what monster charges (via the Best Buys of the world). 2) Not only has there never been a test that substantiates the need for high priced cable, there have been test that Monster cable’s sound is indistinguishable from using a coat hanger.
        Bottom line, you don’t need to spend the big bucks to get the same performance and when you couple that with an ‘audiophile’ company that is threatened by a mini-golf company – over the use of a generic word, you have plenty of excuses to go elsewhere with your money.
        Try BlueJean cable instead if you want custom lenght stuff.

      • The Doctor

        Keep drinking the Kool-aid, twit.


  • http://blog2.zog.net.au/ ZOG

    If Monster Cable aren’t doing this, then what about the their letter to Bluejean cables?

    more info here:

  • http://car2be.com/ Used Ferrari

    Following that line of thought, perhaps that

  • http://catawba.jailio.com Catawba

    OK, I get that Blue Jeans has a competing product line, but couldn’t Monster just work directly with them to offer their products alongside their own on their site? I’m sure that suing (and threatening to sue) is not the best possible response they could have had to Blue Jean’s new cable…

  • Guest

    Regarding Moster’s legal claims, have a look at http://www.bluejeanscable.com/legal/mcp/response041408.pdf

    If Monster Cables are really a well-meaning family business then they need a bit of education in public relations and marketing. IMHO the legal department of Moster Cables is a bunch of morons, doing more harm than good for the company they work for.

    The person (MTL) that reckons Monster Cables are the best and is apparently trying to pursuade readers to think the same sounds like a snot-nose teenybopper who is probably using Monster Cables for his fooly-sick Radio Shack car stereo, blaring distorted heavy metal with the windows open, thinking he’s the next Elvis. If I’m wrong (perhaps he or she is actually a member of the Monster Audio legal department), I pitty their apparent immaturity and ignorance. There are plenty of good cables out there, and the definition of quality includes value for money, which Monster Cables falls short of providing.

    By the way, I’m not the same person who posted previously as guest. I don’t care about this issue enough to register. I just wanted to flame ;)

  • Rob

    Monster should be BOYCOTTED against for the good of the nation. They are literally crazy greedy SOB’s that will do ANYTHING for a buck and ANYTHING to stop anyone from making a buck.

    It’s so bad now, that Monster is supporting PIPA and SOPA trying to get websites like eBay and Craigslist off the internet. Monster says that “People selling our products on these sites are negatively affecting our bottom line.”. Good Lord. What do you want Monster? When someone wants to get rid of one of your products that THEY OWN, what do you want? They own it, they can sell it, trash it or do whatever they want YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO SAY.

    Monster Cable Company SUCKS and no body should ever buy their products.

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