USA – American Multinational Energy beverage company, Monster drinks Co. has been awarded nearly US$293m by a California jury in damages from rival Bang Energy in a lawsuit alleging that Bang Energy falsely advertised the ingredients and health benefits of its drinks.
After a trial that lasted more than a month, the jury credited Monster’s claims that Bang’s “Super Creatine” did not contain any actual creatine and that Bang misled customers about its benefits.
Hueston Hennigan partner Moez Kaba, who led Monster’s trial team with partner John Hueston, said that the verdict shows that Bang, which has quickly become one of the best-selling energy drinks in the United States, “achieved its wild success based on widespread deception.”
Kaba noted that the jury awarded Monster nearly US$272 million for false advertising, US$18 million on claims that Bang interfered with its contracts with retailers for prominent shelf spaces, and US$3 million on claims that Bang stole trade secrets from former Monster employees it recruited.
The California judge also affirmed the verdict given in June, where Monster won a US$175 million award from an arbitrator in a related trademark case.
Bang Energy maker Vital Pharmaceuticals Incl did not meet the high standard of proving that the arbitrator’s award was “completely irrational,” District Judge Dale Fischer said.
Vital launched “Bang Energy RTD” in 2015, advertising it as a pre-workout energy drink with “Super Creatine.”
Orange-drink maker Orange Bang teamed up with Monster to accuse Vital of breaking the settlement and violating Orange Bang’s trademark rights, arguing the drinks are not creatine-based.
Arbitrator Bruce Isaacs of Signature Resolution ruled for Monster and Orange Bang in April, finding Bang Energy’s drink is not creatine-based because “Super Creatine” is not creatine and does not raise the body’s creatine levels.
The two verdicts were two of the biggest awards in the history of the federal Lanham Act, which governs both false advertising and trademark law, with potentially more to come in punitive damages.
The lawsuit started in 2018 when Monster filed the lawsuit in Riverside, California, accusing Bang of touting its product as “nothing short of a miracle drink that delivers benefits and cures that have evaded scientists for decades.”
According to the lawsuit, Bang advertised its “Super Creatine” as being “20 times more effective at reaching the brain than other forms of creatine,” and said its energy drink can “reverse mental retardation” and help cure disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Monster said “Super Creatine” does not contain real creatine or provide the health benefits of creatine, however, Bang denied falsely advertising its drinks, saying “Super Creatine” is not important to a customer’s decision to buy the drinks, and argued that Monster had not suffered any damages.
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