🥤Monster v. Bang
Stand aside, TS Eliot. Monster Energy's trade secrets and false advertising suit didn't end with a whimper, but with a bang. Bang Energy, that is. A federal judge awarded Monster $293 million in damage — reports Bloomberg — after they sued Vital Pharmaceuticals (or VPX, the maker of Bang) over claims that the company had created a "super" form creatin that it sold in its drinks. "The jury recognized that VPX built its billion dollar Bang energy drink on a lie," Monster’s co-lead counsel John Hueston told Bloomberg. He added that Bang's number three place in the market "was based on their lie" that they had invented the supposed "super creatin."
According to Reuters, the $293 million award breaks down as "$272 million for false advertising, $18 million on claims that Bang interfered with [Monster’s] contracts with retailers for prominent shelf spaces, and $3 million on claims that Bang stole trade secrets from former Monster employees it recruited."
Beyond the Monster case, Bloomberg adds that VPX has also faced suits from several major record labels for using their music without a license in promotional TikToks. Two of those suits resulted in a ruling against VPX.
A Messy Past
Not only is this the second time Monster has taken VPX to court and won (an arbiter awarded Monster $175 million in a previous trademark infringement case, says Reuters), but VPX has also gone to court with PepsiCo (who makes Rockstar Energy) over claims that the beverage giant violated their distribution deal. In a June statement, VPX said that "all disputes with PepsiCo have been fully settled and resolved," and that Bang will "transition from PepsiCo distribution to Bang Energy’s new DSD partners."
Might be time to wean off the caffeine and drink some water, VPX. Too many lawsuits and broken deals are not a good look for a company wanting longevity. We know the mantra is "move fast and break things," but when you're losing several expensive, high-profile cases against the biggest names in the game — maybe it's time to slow down.