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Monster Energy threatens another game with legal action over the word "monsters"

Dark Deception: Monsters & Mortal's devs will fight the trademark dispute

Monster Energy strikes again, coming back to claw at games with the word “Monster” in the title. The drinks company and its legal department have now targeted the indie devs behind Dark Deception: Monsters & Mortals, a multiplayer game where you control either the titular humans or horrors through a maze.

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Developer Glowstick’s CEO Vincent Livings posted Monster Energy’s legal terms on Twitter. In the document, the company say they won’t object to Dark Deception’s trademark, as long as the devs follow some very strict guidelines. Glowstick won’t be able to use or register any other trademarks that include the words monster(s), or variations like monsta, monstrous, or monstrosity. Monster-adjacent words - such as beast and unleash - are also off the table.

But these terms extend to the use and registration of designs as well. For example, any “claws, claw-like design, claw-like markings” or a “design consisting of multiple, substantially parallel lines,” are a big no. As is using the combination of green and black, or green and black and white. Because, of course, gamers do associate three paralell lines with a drink.

On Twitter, Livings says “It’s well known that @MonsterEnergy is a notorious trademark troll.” He continues, “For a company that likes to target drinks at gamers, they also like to try to bully & bankrupt game studios with lengthy high dollar litigation.” Livings adds that Monster Energy claim the game is “confusingly similar to their energy drink,” but he’s “going to fight them in court.”

Monster Energy previously came for Ubisoft a few years ago. You might remember that Immortals Fenyx Rising - the colourful Zelda-ish open world - was originally announced as Gods & Monsters. At the time, Monster Energy claimed that they were so entrenched in gaming culture - through product placement in Death Stranding, esports sponsorships, cross-promotion with live-service games - that Ubisoft’s name caused confusion between the brands.

Ubisoft did deny these claims, but it seems they weren’t too attached to the name as they later changed it without any more legal disputes. Lawyer Richard Hoeg had speculated that Ubi could have fought and won the case, but doing so would sink money and time. We’ll see if Glowstick have enough of either as they take the dispute to court.

If you’re now interested in Dark Deception: Monsters & Mortals, it’s currently available on Steam for just £4. The monsta designs are pretty monstrous, from moustached jolly chimps, riffs on the Xenomorphs, and letters (yes, the ABCs) with sharp teeth and bulging eyes attached.

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