I think the coffee example might be infringement. The issue isn't that someone thinks the Monster Coffee is the same thing as Monster Energy Drink, it's that they think the Monster Coffee is made by the same people who make Monster Energy drink. If it's really bad coffee then Monster the company might suffer from the association, and if Monster wanted to expand into the coffee market they'd be unable to bring their brand with them. I don't think those are unreasonable rights to protect.
Like all things, you'd have to settle it in court to be sure. Trademarks apply to "Identical goods" ie two energy drink products, but also "similar goods" and deciding what counts as similar goods is probably tricky, it depends on the likelihood of the goods being confused, on the likelihood of people thinking they can from the same company, how similar the names are and how famous the names are. For example, it was decided that trying to Cannon VHS tapes infringed on the trademark of Canon selling camcorders.
Given how famous Monster is, and that there's already some sort of connection between coffee and energy drinks, I think people would be afraid of trying to make Monster Coffee.
So I think the Prey example is completely fair game. Imagine if Prey for the Gods became the next DayZ indie wonder hit and everyone knew its name. And then both they and Zenimax tried to release a spin-off game, a Mariokart/Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball style spin-off, completely in a different genre. Both have worked hard to earn their reputation and deserve the brand recognition to help the spin-off be successful, but the public are now unsure of which brand the PreyKart game is from. The way to avoid that is to make sure no game gets big with the name 'Prey'.
I'm sure the case wouldn't get thrown out because the games are different genre's. That's way too similar. But I think it might fail because "Prey" is just a really generic term and the Prey videogame brand is currently not very well known.
In Youtubes case, if they'd make a super successful Twitch style spin-off called "LiveTube", they probably could have won against someone starting a RedTube site. But since they didn't want to expand into the porn industry (under the same brand name), and they didn't want to make 'Tube' a thing, I guess they didn't bother.
I'm guessing "Cola" was becoming a generic term before Coca Cola was famous. Even if it wasn't "Cola" has hit generic status now and they wouldn't be able to defend it - that's why "Hoover" isn't a trademark in the UK, we call all vacuum cleaners hoovers, so Hoover lost the right to say their name was distinctive. Google are really scared this will happen to them, so Google never talks about "Googling" thing, they talk about "Internet searching"
EDIT: I can't find anything that tells me when "Cola" became the name for coca flavoured beverages, but Pepsi-Cola as a name is super old (pre 20th century), so maybe trademark law wasn't as developed back then. It wouldn't matter if it developed later because by then "Pepsi-Cola" would have it's own significance as a brand.
EDIT EDIT: Still nothing, but it's worth noting that I have now read that Coca-Cola are supposed to be very aggressive with their branding and even trademarked the shape of their bottles successfully (and the font of their logo).
Last edited by Thomas
on Fri May 12, 2017 7:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.