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November 2004
Enjoy the Music.com Review Magazine
Need Money?
Take Over A Successful Business Or Sue One!
Article By Steven R. Rochlin

 

  Has the American judicial system become a newfound form of revenue? For some people (or companies) it appears that their main revenue stream comes from legal battles or from out of court settlements. Think of it as modern day extortion that dates back long before the mafia. While there are times when filing a lawsuit is perfectly justified, it may be considered by some that certain legal actions may verge on the lines of extortion. It saddens me to know many passionate equipment manufacturers have little professional education in how to properly operate a business. Sherman, set the WayBack machine to...

Many years ago Bose Corporation claimed to own the decimal or some such! i kid you not! As i recall, audiophile loudspeaker manufacturer Thiel was asked by Bose to not name their products with a decimal and 2 (i.e. .2). It might appear that Bose felt that anything with .2 could be mistaken for their products. Speaking personally, there is no Thiel product that would be mistaken for those dreaded black cubes that produce, to my ears, reproduced music that leaves much to be desired. Recently Bose filed a lawsuit against the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) regarding the organization's "Electronic Lifestyles" trademarks. No worries as Bose lost that legal wrangling, but i digress.

Recently there have been two situations at the forefront in audiophile-land. It appears that Monster Cable Products is threatened by a used cloths store! This is not a joke, but harsh reality for a small business. Specifically, MonsterVintage.com sells vintage cloths such as concert t-shirts, Hawaiian dresses, antique signs... and has received what some may consider legal extortion from Monster Cable Corporation. (Said with deep sarcasm) This editor can understand how a consumer could mistake an audio/video cable or power filter from a Hawaiian shirt. In all seriousness, naturally one should protect their intellectual and graphical property. On more than one occasion Enjoy the Music.com has had to remind someone about the ownership of our content/photos. 

Those of you who are still perplexed concerning the Monster Cable Corporation versus MonsterVilliage.com can read the below as posted by Posted by info@monstervintage.com:

Monster Cable vs. Monster Vintage: UPDATE (10/18/2004)
Monster Vintage wants to start this letter off by thanking all those that have given their support in regards to this serious matter of the frivolous lawsuit of domain name ownership. Your letters and emails to Monster Cable are starting to get the attention that this issue deserves. Our website (www.monstervintage.com) has been updated with more recent information and feedback from concerned individuals. Below is a brief description of the events that have transpired:

Monster Cable, an Audio/ Video cable specialist is attempting to takeover the domain name and use of the word "Monster" for many websites around the globe. Monster Cable has filed a Federal Lawsuit to take over the website www.Monstervintage.com. Monster Cable claims that we (Monster Vintage) do not have the right to use the word "MONSTER", a word used to emphasize our large selection of used vintage clothing.

Monstervintage.com, on the other hand, is a very small cottage business established during the summer of 2001, which sells classic All-American, used vintage clothing. 

If you would like to share any of your experiences dealing with Copyright issues dealing with big corporations, we would love to hear about them at Monster Vintage. 

Victor Petrucci
Monstervintage.com (Updated with new info on this case)
P.O. Box 679
Camas, WA 98607
503-780-6316
info@monstervintage.com

***P.S. Letters to Monster Cable (dgraham@monstercable.com  PR Dept./ dgraham@monstercable.com General Counsel) expressing your thoughts on this issue are highly encouraged. Thank you for your time and patience on this important issue.***

More information can be seen at http://www.monstervintage.com/#monstercable and states that Monster Cable has filed a 5 Counts Federal Lawsuit for diluting the word MONSTER (1) Trademark Infringement (2)Federal Unfair Competition (3) Contributory Trademark Infringement (4) Dilution of Famous Mark (5) State Unfair Competition & Dilution in attempt to take over the Monstervintage.com.

 

Now it would be less than thorough for me to write this article without giving more information. So those of you interested in who else Monster Cable Corporation is/has chosen to reach out to legally, please see the United States Patent and Trademark Office where it states Noel Lee's Monster Cable Corporation has also filed lawsuits against Metropolis Entertainment's Monsters Wanted, Hansen Beverage Company's M Monster Energy, Duane C. Blake's Monster Seats, Discovery Communication's TV show Monster Garage, Monster Tower, Bally Gaming International's Monster Slots, Simple Wishes' Monsters Of The Interstate, and Net2Way's Monster Baseball. It appears the online employment website Monster.com had a settlement as they only offer a link at the very bottom of their main page.

Hopefully you will take the time to e-mail dgraham@monstercable.com and let them know how you feel about the above situation. Have e-mailed Monster Cable Corporation to publish their comments. yet have not received anything at the time of this writing.

 

Glacier Versus Atma-Sphere's Ralph Karsten
Another recent event is Glacier Audio who now owns Atma-Sphere, a company that thrived under the loving heart and soul of Ralph Karsten. As seen on the Glacier Audio website:

Atma-Sphere Music Systems, Inc. announces a transition in this company's proud tradition of innovation and excellence. For some years, founder Ralph Karsten has been searching for an opportunity to disengage from the day-to-day management to pursue other interests and explore other ways to use his creative talents. After 25 years, Karsten is stepping down as CEO and has decided to sell his remaining interest to the existing management team and co-owners with whom he has had a relationship for a number of years.

Under the buyout agreement, Karsten will have a license to use Atma-Sphere's existing intellectual property to develop a line of preamps and amps under the "Karsten Signature" brand for distribution through Atma-Sphere. These offerings will be limited editions, hand-made exclusively by Mr. Karsten and will undoubtedly be highly regarded and coveted. Details will be forthcoming on Atma-Sphere's website (www.atma-sphere.com)...

 

There appears to be various accounts from a hostile takeover to Ralph simply wanting to step down as President of the company yet still be involved. It seems to basically boil down to Ralph desiring help on business matters (marketing, etc) and he looked for someone to assist in these duties. Eventually he sold a majority share in Atma-Sphere and as such lost control of the business he began in 1978. We all must understand that once someone owns a majority share in a company, they can conduct business as they see fit to a certain degree. This includes firing the person who originally created the business. It appears no one cried when Mr. Mark Levinson lost control of the company that to this day bears his name. And no one appears to be crying at the demise of Cello, another company Mr. Levinson began, sold a majority stake in, and went out of business only a short time later.

I was just informed that indeed Glacier Audio has filed a lawsuit against Ralph Karsten in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota. Judge Michael J. Davis will be presiding with Chief Magistrate Judge Jonathan G. Lebedoff. The legal papers were filed on 10/19/04 at 10:36am and were given case number 0:04cv4528 titled Atma-Sphere Acquisition v Karsten and appears to be a contract dispute.

Some individuals who feel personally touched by Ralph's work have setup a legal fund for him. "While I have not really been talking about what is going on," says Ralph Karsten, "I am glad a legal fund is being setup for me. I have really learned some valuable lessons over this and have been humbled by the support from the marketplace. It is greatly appreciated."

Have sent an e-mail to Harry Blazer of Glacier Audio and his reply was "We should be making a public statement in the near future." Naturally we will amend this article as the news develops.

 

News Update
As of around 8pm on October 22nd it appears Mark Gilmore, Harry Blazer, etc have given control of Atma-Sphere back to Ralf Karsten in full. Ralph Karsten is the sole shareholder of Atma-Sphere. So all is well that ends well.

 

Roundup
In the end one can wonder if Monster Cable is truly threatened by a vintage cloths store, or if Ralph truly did sell and was fully paid for a majority interest of Atma-Sphere and was shown the door by the majority shareholders, which is completely legal. And now Ralf Karsten has full control of the company he began decades ago. Bottom line is that we each must understand that while our love for music is key, there are many more variables in operating a successful business. In the end what really matters is that we all....

Enjoy the Music (Rush "Roll The Bones"),

Steven R. Rochlin

"Well, you can stake that claim --
Good work is the key to good fortune
Winners take that praise
Losers seldom take that blame
If they don't take that game 
And sometimes the winner takes nothing
We draw our own designs
But fortune has to make that frame

We go out in the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That's the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones

Why are we here?
Because we're here
Roll the bones, roll the bones
Why does it happen?
Because it happens
Roll the bones, roll the bones...

Jack -- relax.
Get busy with the facts.
No zodiacs or almanacs,
No maniacs in polyester slacks.
Just the facts.
Gonna kick some gluteus max.
It's a parallax -- you dig?
You move around
The small gets big. It's a rig.

It's action -- reaction --
Random interaction.
So who's afraid
Of a little abstraction?
Can't get no satisfaction 
From the facts?
Better run, homeboy --
A fact's a fact
From Nome to Rome boy..."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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