Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Raptors in Court Battle over Logo; Monster Energy Says Clawmarks Too Similar

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Raptors in Court Battle over Logo; Monster Energy Says Clawmarks Too Similar

Article excerpt

Raptors in court battle to keep logo

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There's the battle on the court. Then there's the battle in the court.

Win or lose the NBA championship, the Toronto Raptors will have to fight for possession of a team logo that -- this week -- seems almost as well-loved as the Maple Leaf.

Documents filed with the U.S. Patent Office's trial and appeal board show that Monster Energy, makers of a popular energy drink, says the team's logo of a clawed-up basketball is too similar to the one it uses.

Monster's logo is of three jagged vertical gashes, resembling those from a claw, usually green on a featureless black background. Since 2014, the Raptors have used a basketball with three diagonal claw gashes.

Monster objected almost immediately after Raptors owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment attempted to register the new logo.

"(Monster) has sold billions of dollars worth of goods under (its) mark," say the company's documents filed in June 2015. Since 2002, the company has used the three gashes on everything from rock concerts to clothes, as well as on the energy drink, it says.

"(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 (Monster's) goods."

Maple Leaf filings point out that the Raptors have used a logo featuring three claw marks and a basketball since 1994.

The current logo is a development of the original one and is "the same or substantially the same," Maple Leaf argues.

"(Monster) will not suffer added damage from the continued existence of the challenged applications."

Monster recently asked the board, which is an administrative court within the U.S. Patent Office, to toss that argument out. It argues the different sets of Raptors claws are too different for one to be an outgrowth of the other. …

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