Arbitration Award Granted in Vital Pharmaceuticals’ BANG Trademark Case

Last Thursday, Judge Dale S. Fischer of the Central District of California denied an order to vacate the arbitration award from plaintiff Vital Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VPX) and granted an order from Orange Bang, Inc. to finalize the arbitration award after Orange Bang and co-defendant Monster Energy, Inc. filed a lawsuit to stop the plaintiff’s alleged infringement of their BANG trademark.

On July 23, 2020, the plaintiff filed a complaint claiming that the defendants conspired to stop VPX from using their rightful BANG trademark of “highly successful sugarless energy drink products.” The defendants were using the “Bang!” trademark since the 1970s, when VPX registered “BANG” in the late 1990s.

In their complaint, VPX claimed that they were fierce competitors with Monster who resorted to “anti-competitive measures in an effort to quash VPX’s success” since they claimed that they were taking market share away from Monster. Further on, they doubled down on their allegations, claiming that Monster’s modus operandi was to “attack any and all competition through lawsuits” using “scorched-earth” tactics. Since the plaintiff makes “highly successful sugarless energy drink products” while the defendant makes “concentrated whipped fruit beverages,” VPX claimed that they were not even competitors and that their lawsuit was in bad faith. 

VPX opposed the arbitration award and called it “completely irrational.”  However, the court decided that the arbitrator was fair and that they “appear[ed] to have taken great care with both the factual issues and the law.” According to the order, the arbitrator used laws and facts wisely to create a fair ruling. Thus, the court decided to reject the plaintiff’s motion to vacate the award, and grant the defendants’ motion to finalize the award.

VPX is represented by Quarles & Brady while Monster is represented by Hueston Hennigan and Orange Bang by Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear.