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Monster Cable tries to intimidate the wrong guy

Posted on Tuesday, April 15th, 2008 2:08 PM

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Monster Cable has this legendary reputation for being overly aggressive when it comes to protecting their trademarks. Stories abound of companies unrelated to audio/video wiring getting cease-and-desist letters from Monster's lawyers claiming infringement.

Combine that litigious reputation with the fact that they try to convince people that spending $150 on a 4-foot HDMI cable is a good idea and they've gotten themselves a league of haters among consumers that rival anything out there. That's too bad, because Monster Cable makes some decent stuff at decent prices, as long as you stick with the lower end of their product lines.

I'm a fan of Monster Cable because of their consistent quality. After dealing with bad connectors and wimpy cables, I've had very good luck with their products, including interconnects, speaker cables, surge protectors, and even iPod accessories. Sure, their turbine connectors could ease up a little on the poor connectors they're mating to, but as long as you're not swapping cables a lot, there isn't much to complain about.

That's what makes this story about Monster Cable going after Blue Jeans Cable so disappointing. From the looks of the C&D letter, Monster's lawyers are saying that Blue Jeans' Tartan Cable infringes somehow on Monster's patented designs. Here is a close-up shot of the Tartan and Monster cables so you can see for yourself. Besides being cylindrical with a male connector jutting out from the end, I'm not seeing anything close to an infringing design here. But then, I'm not a lawyer. Never been one, either.

Unfortunately for Monster Cable, the same cannot be said for Kurt Denke, the founder of Blue Jeans Cable. According to this article on the Audioholics web site, which contains the response Denke sent back to Monster's lawyers (which is great reading, by the way), Denke was a litigator for 19 years "with a focus on federal litigation involving large damages and complex issues." I'm thinking that Monster's hopes that they were dealing with the average Joe that would buckle under the threat of a vague C&D letter should be about dashed by now.

Stuff like this only fans the flames of those who would like to have 5 minutes alone with people from Monster's legal department. It does nothing for Monster's reputation, and it immediately brings visibility to one of their competitors and gives that competitor the sympathy of the public. How does that further the goals of Monster, the company?

I hope that Blue Jeans Cable takes this one to the ends its founder says he will in his response. Overactive lawyers need to be reigned in, and companies need to behave themselves when conducting business.

I have ordered both component and HDMI cables from Blue Jeans Cable, and I would recommend them to anyone. Their prices are fair, their products are good, and I have no complaints in my dealings with them. Now, as a result of this bit of publicity, I know that they also have good deals on interconnects, so I'll be looking to them for my next purchases as well. Take that, Monster!

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Thanks to EngadgetHD for bringing this to our attention!

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