Red Bull firm wins trademark battle
Tuesday 17 July 2012
The company which sells energy drink Red Bull has won a High Court bullfight with a rival firm.
Austrian firm Red Bull GMBH claimed that Sun Mark infringed trademarks by naming a drink "Bullet", and using the advertising slogan "no bull in this can".
Sun Mark, and associated shipping firm Sea Air & Land Forwarding, disputed the claim.
But a High Court judge sided with Red Bull GMBH, following a hearing in London.
Mr Justice Arnold heard that Red Bull GMBH sold a drink called "Bullit" as well as "Red Bull".
Red Bull GMBH said trademark rights to the word "Bullit" and the words "Red Bull" had been breached.
The judge said Sun Mark's use of "Bullet" created a "clear likelihood of confusion", and added that the "no bull ..." slogan took "unfair advantage of the repute of Red Bull".
Sun Mark, and Sea Air & Land Forwarding, did infringe trademarks, he concluded.
Red Bull GMBH was founded by businessman Dietrich Mateschitz in 1984, Mr Justice Arnold.
Mr Mateschitz had visited Thailand and was impressed with an energy drink called Krating Daeng: the Thai term for Red Bull.
Sun Mark, and Sea Air & Land Forwarding, was founded by businessman Raminder Ranger, said the judge.
Dr Ranger had complained that Red Bull GMBH used "bully-boy tactics", the court heard.
Mr Justice Arnold said it was not established that Red Bull GMBH acted in "bad faith".
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