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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Seven years ago, on April Fools' Day, we received a letter that ought to have been, but was not, an April Fools prank.

The letter came from an intellectual property law firm, representing Monster Cable. It set out a series of design patents and trademark registrations, which Monster Cable claimed were being infringed by certain of our budget line, "Tartan Cable" brand products. Monster, accustomed to small companies knuckling under, had gotten rather sloppy about the quality of these letters, and the claim appeared to be quite ludicrous. Adding to that the fact that I spent nearly two decades as a litigator dealing with complex claims in the federal courts (including a small amount of trademark work), this was a recipe for some fun.

Here's a copy of the letter Monster sent us:
http://www.bluejeanscable.com/legal/mcp/monsterletter.pdf

And here are the exhibits to the letter:
http://www.bluejeanscable.com/legal/mcp/exhibits.pdf

Well, I did a bit of research and consulted with a good law school friend who is an intellectual property litigator, and figured out quickly enough that Monster Cable was up a creek without a paddle, making frivolous, indefensible claims. So I wrote back, and I sent a copy over to Audioholics, and something extraordinary happened. The doggoned thing went viral. People who find frivolous IP claims frustrating, people who aren't fans of Monster Cable, and others found the letter quite entertaining, to the point that our website was effectively down for a day or so due to excessive traffic on the server. If you have some time and would like to read, our letter is here:

http://www.bluejeanscable.com/legal/mcp/response041408.pdf

Monster Cable's counsel never wrote back; had they pursued these claims, it would not have gone well for them. They'd probably known that when they sent the letter -- people do knuckle under much too easily sometimes -- but if they didn't know that then, they knew it after we responded.

For this reason, at Blue Jeans Cable we call April First "Monster Liberation Day." And this year, 2015, we're having a Monster Liberation Day sale. Place an order on our website, and at checkout, when you see the space to add a note to your order, insert the words "MLD Sale." Your order will go through at full price (we don't have the ability to easily add a "coupon" function to our cart) but we will then issue you a refund for ten percent of your order total. This offer is good all day Wednesday, April 1, and until midnight Pacific time, April 2. It applies to sales on our website or over the phone, but not to our Amazon.com listings.

Thanks again to AVS members for all of your support for Blue Jeans Cable over the years.

Kurt Denke
Blue Jeans Cable
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hey Kurt;

Yes Audioholics.com has that effect on the internet. You're welcome :D
Thanks, Gene, and thanks, Audioholics. That was an astonishing event -- I figured it might get a bit of a rise out of people in the AV cabling world, but its popularity with the broader audience was something we really didn't foresee....
 

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Having read the response now, I kinda feel you should have asked for the info in a more piecemeal fashion, so they actually supplied (at least some of) it. If you'd started by asking for things that made it seem as though you were cowed, cooperating and likely to knuckle under, they'd probably provide them, then you just progressively ramp up your requests and argument until they eventually catch on that they've been wasting time as you also realise their position is untenable. You'd still end up with a nice package to post and go viral like your long letter, but you'd have some responses from the law firm potentially further incriminating themselves for unconscionable conduct, and with the law firm continuing to provide materials and draft letters, Monster would be being billed for all those hours (and knowing this sort of firm, probably an inflated hour count at that).

This way, in return for its predatory behaviour, Monster doesn't just receive damage to its reputation, but also immediate, monetary costs which will probably be more significant in the long run, given what these firms charge, but even if not, better they invite both on themselves than the reputation damage alone. These sorts of companies pull this crap because they know full well most of their targets will not be able to fight back, even if their position is legally defensible, due to lack of resources or knowledge or both, so I take a great deal of pleasure in the rare cases when it costs them measurable losses in return for zero gain, and I can't help but feel you could have burned them harder in this sense.
 

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Enjoyed reading it on my lunch break. Way to go, BJC! Woo woo! haha.

Unfortunately, my father-in-law continues to brag about his monster cables... poor bastard. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Having read the response now, I kinda feel you should have asked for the info in a more piecemeal fashion, so they actually supplied (at least some of) it....
Interesting thoughts, Amleth, and you might be right. As it happens, I was on my way out of town on vacation at the time, and so might have had a hard time maintaining any sort of dialogue with them just then -- but what you're suggesting might have worked very well. On the other hand, I might have had a hard time keeping a straight face while doing it, and my fear would have been that treating their claims with seriousness and speaking in level tones might create the false impression that I regarded this as a matter where there were actual issues to discuss.
 

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Enjoyed reading it on my lunch break. Way to go, BJC! Woo woo! haha.

Unfortunately, my father-in-law continues to brag about his monster cables... poor bastard. :D
Send your father in-law a copy of the hack lawyer's letter which to me looks like a teen's prank, wrote it, or a law internet school flunky!

That speaks volumes on what type of company they really are.;)

DJoel
 

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On the other hand, I might have had a hard time keeping a straight face while doing it, and my fear would have been that treating their claims with seriousness and speaking in level tones might create the false impression that I regarded this as a matter where there were actual issues to discuss.
That's what you'd want them to assume, though, as long as it was carefully phrased to avoid concrete acknowledgement that you agree there is any merit in their position. I'd expect two-odd decades in the legal profession would have made you a master of strategic ambiguity; Play it dumb like you were trying to see their position, and you say just need a little more info, little more evidence to make some specific point clear, then when you get that, next point, etc, whilst never actually formally conceding any point. Then when you have enough you can tell them you now feel like you understand the situation clearly, and you can start rhetorically firing back at them. Or, drag it out as long as possibly for maximum billage, or at least until you get bored. Oh well, maybe they're dumb enough to try it again at some point, if not on you then on a business you deal with. They don't seem to put a lot of effort into screening victims.

Still, nice to see someone not just stand up to them but stick it to them also. Hell, talk about nominative determinism! I wonder if they'd called themselves "Angel Cable" instead, they wouldn't behave like such *******s? They've gotta be my least favourite company in the industry, short of the fly-by-night Internet bottom-feeders that spruik magical quantum audiophile nonsense, anyway. Well, I guess Monster is technically doing that too with most of their products.

Jeez, they really are dicks.
 

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Didn't this Monster letter story happen several years ago?

At any rate, I'm surprised there's a BJC section here. I was looking for a movie section and saw this. I've got blue jeans products and oddly enough Monster products and they both work well. The Monster cables I own are HDMI that cost me $11 per cable. I feel obligated to reveal how much I spent for some reason.
 

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Seven years ago, on April Fools' Day, we received a letter that ought to have been, but was not, an April Fools prank.

The letter came from an intellectual property law firm, representing Monster Cable. It set out a series of design patents and trademark registrations, which Monster Cable claimed were being infringed by certain of our budget line, "Tartan Cable" brand products. Monster, accustomed to small companies knuckling under, had gotten rather sloppy about the quality of these letters, and the claim appeared to be quite ludicrous. Adding to that the fact that I spent nearly two decades as a litigator dealing with complex claims in the federal courts (including a small amount of trademark work), this was a recipe for some fun.

Here's a copy of the letter Monster sent us:
http://www.bluejeanscable.com/legal/mcp/monsterletter.pdf

And here are the exhibits to the letter:
http://www.bluejeanscable.com/legal/mcp/exhibits.pdf

Well, I did a bit of research and consulted with a good law school friend who is an intellectual property litigator, and figured out quickly enough that Monster Cable was up a creek without a paddle, making frivolous, indefensible claims. So I wrote back, and I sent a copy over to Audioholics, and something extraordinary happened. The doggoned thing went viral. People who find frivolous IP claims frustrating, people who aren't fans of Monster Cable, and others found the letter quite entertaining, to the point that our website was effectively down for a day or so due to excessive traffic on the server. If you have some time and would like to read, our letter is here:

http://www.bluejeanscable.com/legal/mcp/response041408.pdf

Monster Cable's counsel never wrote back; had they pursued these claims, it would not have gone well for them. They'd probably known that when they sent the letter -- people do knuckle under much too easily sometimes -- but if they didn't know that then, they knew it after we responded.

For this reason, at Blue Jeans Cable we call April First "Monster Liberation Day." And this year, 2015, we're having a Monster Liberation Day sale. Place an order on our website, and at checkout, when you see the space to add a note to your order, insert the words "MLD Sale." Your order will go through at full price (we don't have the ability to easily add a "coupon" function to our cart) but we will then issue you a refund for ten percent of your order total. This offer is good all day Wednesday, April 1, and until midnight Pacific time, April 2. It applies to sales on our website or over the phone, but not to our Amazon.com listings.

Thanks again to AVS members for all of your support for Blue Jeans Cable over the years.

Kurt Denke
Blue Jeans Cable
isn't this something normally chirped over at a bar with industry pals?

Seems weird on a message board.

:(
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, eljr, we were surprised at the response to it. I thought the letter was a bit too dry for people to really enjoy, but posted it anyhow at the time, and it wound up being a big deal -- people on Reddit, Gizmodo, and the like were commenting on it and reposting it like crazy. So, yeah, I might have thought it had a very narrow appeal, but that turned out not to be the case.

Kurt
BJC
 

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Well, eljr, we were surprised at the response to it. I thought the letter was a bit too dry for people to really enjoy, but posted it anyhow at the time, and it wound up being a big deal -- people on Reddit, Gizmodo, and the like were commenting on it and reposting it like crazy. So, yeah, I might have thought it had a very narrow appeal, but that turned out not to be the case.

Kurt
BJC

Pay no attention to me. It's just something I would not post.

Different personality is all.

Everyone here loves your product and insist it be used to the exclusion of all other so your right as rain.

---------------------------

Did you catch the April fools page created by Emotiva? I found that in bad taste. See what I mean? It's just me.

peace brother
 
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That's called being a Debbie Downer.
if one is part of the club it can seem as such

from the outside it is very different

peace brother
 

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That's called being a Debbie Downer.
I wouldn't say so, there's nothing wrong with a different perspective. Different strokes and all that, Blue Jeans does make some great stuff, I've still got their best 35' HDMI(5 years ago anyway) cable running my projector, never a hint of trouble.
 

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Maybe because I am a professional accountant and somewhat familiar with these sort of disputes, I found the response to Monster's letter brilliant. It didn't seem like a week would go by without Monster suing some person/business etc or another over their perceived "rights" Anyone as much as using the word "Monster" was a potential victim, but that diagram of the RCA connectors took the cake.
 

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Thanks, Gene, and thanks, Audioholics. That was an astonishing event -- I figured it might get a bit of a rise out of people in the AV cabling world, but its popularity with the broader audience was something we really didn't foresee....
I read it, and thats enough for me. I will never purchase a monster anything ever again lo. Not that I ever have knowingly done so yet, but that is despicable predatory behavior.
 
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