The Associated Press
But Marcos Carrington says his coffee-based energy drink is named after his girlfriend, whose name is Jovita, not the 45-year-old rocker.
In a Jan. 22 letter, Los Angeles lawyer Peter Laird, representing Bon Jovi, objected to the word 'Mijovi' as well as other words 'itsmijovi' and 'itsmilife' that appear in the company's marketing materials and on the can. Rather than use Carrington's spelling, the letter used the phrases, 'It's My Jovi' and 'It's My Life.'
'As you should be aware, one of Bon Jovi's most popular songs is entitled `It's My Life,'' the letter states. 'We hereby demand that you immediately cease and desist all further use of the name `Mijovi' and `It's My Life.''
Carrington said the words 'itsmijovi' and 'itsmilife' are meant to mean 'it's my jovial life.' The full phrase on the can is 'itsmienergy.itsmijovi.itsmilife.'
'It is just unfair,' Carrington, 37, told the Asbury Park Press for Thursday's newspapers. 'It is unfair because Mijovi has nothing to do with Bon Jovi.'
A spokeswoman for Bon Jovi declined comment when contacted by the newspaper.
Carrington said he started Mijovi in August 2004 as a way to raise funds for an environmental consulting business.
He said there were no coffee-based energy drinks even though coffee is one of the best-selling beverages in the U.S. Working with a flavor company, he developed Mijovi, a coffee drink that contains taurine, B-vitamins and caffeine.
Carrington says he's willing to stop using 'itsmilife' on cans once an inventory of 3,000 cans is used up. But he says he's keeping the faith _ and the name Mijovi.
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Bon Jovi claims trademark infringement
Home News Tribune Online 07/20/07
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By DAVID P. WILLIS
GANNETT NEW JERSEY
As far as Marcos Carrington is concerned, the name of his coffee-based energy drink, Mijovi, has nothing to do with New Jersey's famous rocker Jon Bon Jovi.
But after Bon Jovi saw a can of Mijovi for sale in a Red Bank cafe in January, his lawyers sent Carrington, the founder of Manchester-based The Mijovi Co., a letter demanding that he stop using the name Mijovi.
"It is just unfair," said Carrington, 37, of East Brunswick. "It is unfair because Mijovi has nothing to do with Bon Jovi."
The name was inspired by his girlfriend, Jovita Saenz, he said.
A spokeswoman for Bon Jovi did not comment Wednesday.
Carrington started Mijovi in August 2004 as a way to raise funds for an environmental consulting business. At first, he wanted to sell fitness waters, but changed his mind because the water market is so competitive.
Instead, he looked at the market for energy drinks. He saw there were no coffee-based energy drinks even though coffee is one of the best-selling beverages in the U.S. He teamed up with a flavor company and developed Mijovi, a coffee drink that contains Taurine, B-vitamins and caffeine found in energy drinks.
"We combine the ingredients of coffee with the ingredients of an energy beverage," Carrington said.
He decided to make Mijovi his main focus, reaching out to stores and cafes, including Zebu Forno in Red Bank, to carry his product. He started to distribute Mijovi, now available in stores in Monmouth, Middlesex and Somerset counties, in February 2006.
In November 2005, Carrington filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to have Mijovi registered as a trademark.
The controversy began after Bon Jovi went to Zebu Forno in January and saw Mijovi for sale. "He said, "Oh, what is this?' " recalled Ryan Timmons, general manager at Zebu Forno. Timmons told Bon Jovi about Carrington and the story behind the drink. "It was definitely a spark of interest," he said.
In a Jan. 22 letter, Los Angeles lawyer Peter Laird, representing Bon Jovi, objected to the word "Mijovi" as well as other words "itsmijovi" and "itsmilife" that appear in the company's marketing materials and on the can. Rather than use Carrington's spelling, the letter used the phrases, "It's My Jovi" and "It's My Life."
"As you should be aware, one of Bon Jovi's most popular songs is entitled "It's My Life," the letter states. "We hereby demand that you immediately cease and desist all further use of the name "Mijovi' and "It's My Life.' "
The name "Mijovi" infringes on the trademark "Bon Jovi," and the use of "It's My Life" is an attempt to associate Bon Jovi with the product, Laird wrote.
But Carrington said the words "itsmijovi" and "itsmilife" are meant to mean "it's my jovial life." The full phrase on the can is "itsmienergy.itsmijovi.itsmilife."
And "jovial life" is just what her name means, Jovita Saenz, 29, said.
Carrington said he won't abandon the name Mijovi.
"I worked very hard to build a brand, to build a company," Carrington said. "Bon Jovi is in the business of making music. I am in the business of making beverages."
Carrington said he had introduced himself and Saenz to Bon Jovi at a Red Bank restaurant to try to clear up the matter and explain the company's origins. But weeks later, he received a letter from a lawyer warning that his trademark application would be challenged, he said.
Middletown lawyer Kurt Anderson, an attorney with Giordano Halleran & Ciesla, said trademark law gives special protection to trademarks that are considered famous. It's not required that there be similar goods or services for a trademark infringement, said Anderson, who is not involved in the matter.
"I think the owner of Mijovi is going to be hard-pressed to claim that the trademark Bon Jovi is not famous," Anderson said.
Carrington's lawyer, James Nichols of North Brunswick, said there is no confusion in the marketplace between Mijovi and Bon Jovi.
"These are two different products completely," Nichols said. "I don't think anybody is going to be confused about Mijovi drink with caffeine and the songs that Bon Jovi sings or Jon Bon Jovi."
Nichols said he is prepared to ask a federal judge to decide the matter if necessary.
Meanwhile, Carrington continues to market Mijovi and hopes to start selling it in supermarkets. Timmons of Zebu Forno said it is nice to support a local product.