Thursday, February 7th 2019

Thermaltake and Mayhems Fighting Over "Pastel" Trademark in the UK

This is still a developing story, however it has matured enough to where we feel confident about discussing it. It kicked off last week when the proprietor of Mayhem Solutions Ltd, better known simply as Mayhems, shared information regarding Thermaltake introducing their own Pastel-branded coolants to be used in the PC DIY water cooling sector. Mayhems has had a trademark registered for this in the UK since 2015, and let Thermaltake know via email to try to reach an amenable solution. Indeed, EKWB and Alphacool had both used the Pastel trademark with Mayhems' permission in the past, some of which also came via using the Mayhems Pastel base under their respective brand names. After word from Thermaltake's legal team, first trying to defend the use of Pastel as a generic term, and then saying that they would work on a compromise, Mayhems told us they have not heard back from the company in over a week since the last correspondence, and are forced to take legal action to prevent Thermaltake P1000 pastel coolants to be sold in the UK.

We wanted to have due diligence in our reporting, and contacted Thermaltake ourselves for a statement. After receiving word that they will send us one, we too have not heard back from the company since. We respect Thermaltake's decision, and are always willing to update this post if they do send us one, but in the meantime we went further. Indeed, a careful look at the trademark (screenshots seen below) confirms Mayhem's legal stance on this matter. However, it is not easy to enforce a trademark in the court. It would be all the more harder to do so when there can be an argument made about the use of the term pastel, which no doubt Thermaltake would argue is not necessarily tied to the coolant, but more as the general term to showcase the various colors and the opaque-nature of said coolants. More on this story past the break, including quotes from retailers we spoke to.
We will note again that the lack of a two-sided conversation has hurt not only our efforts in providing a complete story, but also Mayhem's efforts in reaching an agreement. Mayhems told us that the last offer they sent to Thermaltake was with the intention to put this in the past. They wanted Thermaltake to make a £100 donation to a charity in exchange for permission to use the registered trademark. Putting aside the whole legal vs ethical aspect of this, and however challenging an argument Thermaltake may put forth in court, surely it makes complete business sense to agree to this settlement. Unfortunately, Thermaltake does not seem to think so, and it is very likely we will see a legal resolution to this matter.

Perhaps it was the trademark violation, or even just the development of this saga, but several retailers in the DIY water cooling industry spoke exclusively to us and said they will not be stocking the Thermaltake P1000 pastel coolants regardless of what happens. Indeed, this includes retailers who are not even in the UK, which shows that perhaps Thermaltake may want to rethink their position on this.

Performance PCs (USA) said the following:
Mayhems has asked nicely and only asked for a small monetary yearly fee. So yes, we are supporting Mayhems on principle. No, we will not stock the new coolant until they correct the problem. We still have their older fluid.
HighFlow (Netherlands) said the following:
As far as we know, Mayhems were the first to name their solid colored coolants "Pastel" a long time ago. We've been selling Mayhems Pastel for many many years now and therefore when we hear Pastel coolant, we think of Mayhems Pastel coolant. So when another brand is also using Pastel in the product name for their coolants, it causes confusion and we understand Mayhems opinion about this. We hope Mayhems and Thermaltake can find a win-win agreement with each other, we won't be stocking Thermaltake Pastel coolant until this issue between them is solved.
We also contacted Overclockers UK, who are right in the middle of this being based in the UK, but understandably they did not want to provide an official quote directly regarding this. They did tell us the following, however:
..when it comes to fluid we have a very good relationship with Mayhems and we would not do anything to jeopardise this.
Reading between the lines, it does seem that while Mayhems may yet have a hard time getting their registered trademark enforced in court, Thermaltake is going to have a harder time selling their new coolants in the UK and elsewhere. We were also contacted by people claiming to be erstwhile CaseLabs employees, who then told more about how their own legal woes with Thermaltake supposedly went. Some such instances include using a foreign PR firm to pretend to get information on the company which would then be provided to the legal department of Thermaltake, using social media posts as proof of libel, and also pretending to be customers and enticing a false sense of security to get the company to speak bad about Thermaltake. Again, these are not verifiable incidents, so it is best to take these with a grain of salt at best. We also request our readers recognize this is an ongoing story with legal repercussions, and so please comment accordingly.
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24 Comments on Thermaltake and Mayhems Fighting Over "Pastel" Trademark in the UK

#1
dj-electric
Mayhems were OG. Back off Tt, this isn't yours. You still smell bad from the various design decisions you made in recent years.
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#2
Shambles1980
rowntrees gonna step up and own them all, i do like some fruit pastels too
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#3
adulaammum
So, again with the copying. last time it was caselabs and fractal.
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#4
NightOfChrist
VSG said:
This is still a developing story, however it has matured enough to where we feel confident about discussing it.
VSG, thanks for taking time for reporting the case and publishing the article.
I don't see anything wrong in publishing an ongoing case or story, especially since we already knew the obvious:

VSG said:
After word from Thermaltake's legal team, first trying to defend the use of Pastel as a generic term, and then saying that they would work on a compromise, Mayhems told us they have not heard back from the company in over a week since the last correspondence, and are forced to take legal action to prevent Thermaltake P1000 pastel coolants to be sold in the UK.
The way TT's legal team acted and responded to Mayhems clearly shows that they wanted more than just "Pastel as a generic term". Otherwise they wouldn't compromise.
And talking about "Pastel as generic term"...

VSG said:
It would be all the more harder to do so when there can be an argument made about the use of the term pastel, which no doubt Thermaltake would argue is not necessarily tied to the coolant, but more as the general term to showcase the various colors and the opaque-nature of said coolants.
If they really wanted "Pastel" as generic term, they could've used it to describe the color like they claimed.
It'd be "P1000 Coolant - Pastel White".

But the way they went with "P1000 Pastel Coolant - White" obviously gave it away that this is more than just Pastel being a generic term.
They wanted "Pastel" to be the name of the product and not just the variant or type/nature of a color.

VSG said:
They wanted Thermaltake to make a £100 donation to a charity in exchange for permission to use the registered trademark.
Really admirable. I really like it.

I'm looking forward for the update(s) to the ongoing case.
Once again, thanks for taking time for reporting this case. :lovetpu:
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#5
Batou1986
Do they have a trademark for coloured as well
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#6
MrGenius
I'm not even going to read this crap. You can't trademark colors or generic names for things. That's beyond retarded. I'm out. Gotta go trademark The Universe so you can all pay me for existing in it.
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#7
ArbitraryAffection
MrGenius said:
I'm not even going to read this crap. You can't trademark colors or generic names for things. That's beyond retarded. I'm out. Gotta go trademark The Universe so you can all pay me for existing in it.
This is kinda my thoughts on this too.
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#8
Mayhems
MrGenius said:
I'm not even going to read this crap. You can't trademark colors or generic names for things. That's beyond retarded. I'm out. Gotta go trademark The Universe so you can all pay me for existing in it.
Actually, the trademark in the UK only relates to coolants and chemicals preparations for cooling and nothing more. We have had the trademark in place in the UK now for over 4 years. I don't see anyone complaining about Apple being trademarked, the colour Red, Brown and Orange being trademarked by the likes of Post Office, UPS, Orange Mobile Comms. So whether you like it or not we did the right thing and we are protecting our trademark! Just because we're not a big company doesn't mean we do not have the same rights as big companies. We should be afforded the same respect as everyone else when we have done everything legally and correctly.



Our plight is a very simple one, however, it is also is a big one and a warning to anyone else with a small business about such actions. We will fight our corner and we will try our best. If we can do our due diligence why can they not do the same?
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#10
Chloe Price
Reminds me when AMD couldn't use the Fusion name for it's APUs since Arctic had it's Fusion line of PSUs back in the day.
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#11
DeathtoGnomes
I always thought pastel was part of a color palette like flat or semi-gloss.
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#12
GinoLatino
One shouldn't be allowed to trademark common words...
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#13
Totally
Mayhems said:
Actually, the trademark in the UK only relates to coolants and chemicals preparations for cooling and nothing more. We have had the trademark in place in the UK now for over 4 years. I don't see anyone complaining about Apple being trademarked, the colour Red, Brown and Orange being trademarked by the likes of Post Office, UPS, Orange Mobile Comms. So whether you like it or not we did the right thing and we are protecting our trademark! Just because we're not a big company doesn't mean we do not have the same rights as big companies. We should be afforded the same respect as everyone else when we have done everything legally and correctly.



To top it off we "do not want their money!", we only ask they respect our rights! yet so far they have only offered threats and then no comms. Our plight is a very simple one, however, it is also is a big one and a warning to anyone else with a small business about such actions. We will fight our corner and we will try our best. If we can do our due diligence why can they not do the same?
Those are specific colors or specific items the that are logos or symbolic of the company. Adding to that I've only seen specific 123abc colors trademarked not entire hues making it difficult to impose on said trademark. Trademarking words that are broad or generic just isn't proper.
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#15
Turmania
Why is thermaltake always involved in trademark disputes with all other companies? I expect a much better from a Japanese company.
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#16
GlacierNine
Turmania said:
Why is thermaltake always involved in trademark disputes with all other companies? I expect a much better from a Japanese company.
They're not Japanese, they're Taiwanese.

And they're always involved in trademark disputes with other companies because they do stupid shit like walk up to Caselabs' booth at a show, say "I wish we made stuff like this", order a caselabs product immediately, release a clone of it, and then pretend they've never heard of Caselabs.

Only for Caselabs to then post the invoice for the sale publically and take them to court for it.

Unfortunately, Caselabs ended up losing, not because there wasn't clear copying going on, but because they'd said stuff they couldn't prove in court about Thermaltake, so Thermaltake forced them to settle or be countersued.
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#17
Ubersonic
Mayhems said:
Just because we're not a big company doesn't mean we do not have the same rights as big companies.
In theory yes, but sadly just ask Caselabs how that works out, when TT copied their designs and they took issue with it TTs response was to threaten to counter sue them knowing that fighting the case would bankrupt them (Caselabs were forced to issue an apology to them in order to avoid being put out of business lol).


GinoLatino said:
One shouldn't be allowed to trademark common words...
You can't.

You can however trademark a common word for a specific use, I.E Apple for a computer company, Orange for a mobile phone network, Time for a computer manufacturer, Dodge for a manufacturer of cars, Focus for a model of car, Yoga for a model of laptop, and Pastel for a line of coloured coolants for use in computers.
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#18
Shambles1980
you can also trade mark the word edge and then years later get the whole thing taken away from you for being a massive troll.
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#19
Xpect
Ubersonic said:


You can't.

You can however trademark a common word for a specific use, I.E Apple for a computer company,
While the other you stated behave correctly on this, as far as I know, Apple does not. They werde once in legal dispute with a small Café called Apfelkind here in Germany over their Logo and Name. Stating both Was to similar to theirs and could lead to confusion. I attach a link with an article including a picture of both Logos side by side. So, somewhere along the line some companys left that normal and okay trademarking field.

While I don't agree with trademarking the Word Pastel and then Just calling colors Pastel White or similar (which I would and always have read as a color description of the color bring slightly off-white), since this trademark is existing, the way Thermaltake is using it (in product name and not color description) is clearly trying to rip off.

Just for example, and of course knowing nothing of trademark legalities and Just speaking of common sense, a product called "Water cooling color-add (pastel [white/blue/yellow/ Insert color]) " would be totally acceptable and AT least in my eyes describe a product with a very bright/"high gamma" color tone. A product called "Water Pastel P1000 ([white/blue/yellow/Insert color] )" on the other Hand would clearly use Pastel as Part of the product Name.

Edit: forgot the link http://www.areamobile.de/news/20072-bonner-cafe-apfelkind-apple-streitet-erneut-um-logo
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#20
Ubersonic
Mayhems said:
So whether you like it or not we did the right thing and we are protecting our trademark!
Hate to break it to you, but no you're not, you're patent trolling.

I don't know why I missed it on the first read but I just noticed that the TT coolant isn't called pastel it's called P1000. Mayhems Pastel and Thermaltake P1000 do not sound even remotely similar. Yes the individual P1000 bottles are sub labeled "red pastel", "yellow pastel", etc because they are the name of the colour. You didn't invent colours (or the word pastel) so if you plan on taking TT to court for correctly labeling their product with the name of the colour then you should also name every art paint manufacturer in the UK as co-defendants lol.
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#21
Xpect
@Ubersonic but the are calling it P1000 Pastel color - White. That again is different from describing Just the color.
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#22
Ubersonic
Xpect said:
@Ubersonic but the are calling it P1000 Pastel color - White. That again is different from describing Just the color.
Except they're not.

If you actually look at the label on the bottle they are calling it "P1000", and then under the product name is written the colour (in the case of your example "white") and then finally below the colour is the type of colour (in the case of your example "Pastel coolant"). NB: they also do opaque coolant and translucent coolant in a variety of colours.

This is no different than if Coca-Cola tried to sue Pepsi because Pepsi Max Cherry uses the same sub-flavour as Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Cherry >.>
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#23
Xpect
They call IT the P1000 Pastel coolant series. Well, this is a dispute we can't settle easily I guess
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#24
Jim Bond
They are not named Thermal - take for nothing. Get in good and talk collaboration when their entire intent is espionage. No one should ever trust this company. I swore of Thermalsteal years ago.

The TT R&D facility is an 8 x 6 copy room. The adjoining room houses their team of lawyers.
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