January 30, 2019 // 11:25 a.m.
Liquid-cooling specialist Mayhems is seeking to block importation of Thermaltake's rival products into the UK, over claims they are in breach of Mayhems' trademark on the word 'Pastel' in connection with cooling fluids.
Mayhems' Pastel family of cooling fluids for PCs - named for the solid, rather than translucent, colour of the liquid - was developed in partnership with Ice Dragon Cooling for release in 2010 and has proven popular among those who like something a little different in their rig. Five years after it started selling the products, and a year after signing a licensing deal for EK Water Blocks to sell the formula under its own branding, Mayhems applied for and was granted a trademark on the word 'Pastel' as it applies to cooling liquid of any kind - and it claims that Thermaltake is looking to capitalise on its marketing efforts by using that same term for its own rival solid-colour coolant fluids.
Thermaltake's own P1000 Pastel Coolant range was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, alongside T1000 Transparent Coolant variants, and stands as a direct competitor to Mayhem's Pastel family and EKWB's licensed version. Accordingly, it's unsurprising to find Mayhems is unimpressed - though company founder Michael Wood's decision to attempt to seize the product at the border may raise eyebrows.
'I have tried my best and politest way to mediate with [Thermaltake] without success,' Wood writes in an impassioned Facebook post, 'and basically they have threatened to have our trademarked removed from us. We are considering taking them to the UK Courts (consulting legal advice now). I do not care how big a company is, I WILL DEFEND AND FIGHT this if I can! We may be a tiny company against a Goliath in this industry, but it will cost them more than it will me. I'm fighting for all us small guys and companies. We will not let a mega company like that walk all over us. I HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.
'Pastel is my trademark I don't care if you like it or not,' Wood continues. 'Aurora is our trade mark if you like it or not. Mayhems logos are also protected again if you like it or not. Mayhems is my hard work, my coolants are my hard work. It's that simple. I have not worked my ass off for 10 years to have someone take it away from me. I gave Thermaltake a chance! They will not shut me up like they did others and I will not apologise. I'm not soft and they don't scare me. Mayhems can easily close up and open under any name and carry on doing what we do. I create not steal, I invent not copy, I work hard as do my staff and we all feel the same.'
According to documentation provided to bit-tech by Mayhems, the company is investigating legal recourse up to and including having all Thermaltake P1000 Pastel products impounded at the border as they enter into the UK using laws related to counterfeit products. Direct negotiations with Thermaltake have ceased after the company issued a rejection of Mayhems' accusations and a claim that it uses the word 'pastel' purely in a technical manner to differentiate the shades from its transparent variants, and not as part of the product trade dress proper.
Although Mayhems is the only company to discuss the disagreement publicly thus far, the documentation provided to bit-tech confirms that Thermaltake is willing to fight its corner: While Mayhems is seeking to prevent Thermaltake's P1000 products from being imported into the UK, Thermaltake has warned the company that it may seek to invalidate the Pastel trademark altogether.
Thermaltake was approached for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.