In the Courtroom: 5-Hour Energy Aims to Protect Trademark in Series of Lawsuits

Innovation Ventures, LLC, the Michigan-based maker of 5-Hour Energy shots, is no stranger to flexing its legal arm in order to protect its brand name. Having engaged in several trademark infringement lawsuits over the past 10 years, the company is now targeting two more energy shot makers it claims are treading on its intellectual property.

Two separate lawsuits filed by the company in the U. S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan allege that brands e6 6-Hour Energy Shot and VitaminEnergy have each infringed on 5-Hour’s protected brand name.

In April, Innovation Ventures filed a complaint against e6 distributors 21st Century Brands Distributing LLC, Prime Time International Distributing Inc., and Forward Corporation. The complaint claims that the brand’s use of the phrase “6-Hour Energy” is “confusingly similar to” the 5-Hour Energy trademark. The defendants were served with the complaint on May 5 and have until September 13 to file a first response.

A second complaint, filed in June, claimed VitaminEnergy’s marketing materials, which promote “up to 7 hours of energy,” were in violation of the 5-Hour Energy trademark. Innovation Ventures also accused VitaminEnergy of false advertising, noting that statements made by the brand suggest its products “provide steroid-like athletic performance enhancement.”

The complaints cite past lawsuits by Innovation Ventures against companies including N2G Distribution and N.V.E. Inc., the respective makers of the now defunct Nitro2Go 6 Hour Energy Shot and 6 Hour Power brands. Innovation Ventures won both cases, the former in 2014 and the latter in 2016.

VitaminEnergy makes a line of energy shots with added functional ingredients, including varieties featuring antioxidants, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and CBD. In the past the brand had stated that its products can “deliver improved performance without the use of harmful steroids or steroid-like compounds.”

In a statement sent to BevNET, Vitamin Energy, LLC wrote that it “categorically rejects” the claims made by Innovation Ventures and that the company is confident it “has not infringed on any aspect of the plaintiffs registrations and/or trademarks.”

“VitaminEnergy believes this is an underhanded attempt by a large category leader to maliciously use the legal system to slow the rapid growth of the VitaminEnergy brand, which is now sold in over 7,000 US stores and growing by the month,” the company stated. “The plaintiff has utilized aggressive litigation tactics with other competitors in the past. However, in the case of VitaminEnergy, we firmly believe plaintiff’s claims are baseless, and we are confident we will prevail in court.”

In both complaints, Innovation Ventures seeks damages and demands each company immediately cease using the trademarked phrases.

Innovation Ventures is represented by Brooks Kushman P.C. in both cases. Lawyers for the company could not be reached for comment.