Red Bull, a brand that has made sales of 7.9 billion cans of an energy drink within a span of one year i.e., 2020 alleged infringement of its trademark “Red Bull” by Bakewell Biscuits Private Limited with its products sold in the name “Red Horse”. The Red Bull company notified the court that it possessed a trademark as an internationally renowned and well-known maker and marketer of energy drinks. Red Bull has laid its foundation since 1984, Dietrich Mateschitz having nearly spent 3 years working upon the brand, the packaging, and the marketing concept. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Red Bull GmbH. It launched its first Energy Drink in Austria on April 01, 1987. From then on there was no looking back for Red Bull. By the end of 2020, the company was able to reach as many as 171 countries.
The brand has been actively been in the market and is known for “giving wiiings”, the feel of energized, light, and activeness which is incorporated in their tag line “Red Bull – Gives you wings”. Other than the production of Energy Drink, the brand has indulged itself with various products. Red Bull Energy Drink is appreciated worldwide by top athletes, students, and in highly demanding professions as well as during long drives. The Red Bull holds events like bike rides, motorsport, surfing, winter sport, music, gaming, and much more.
In India, the trademark, “Red Bull” is specifically recorded as a well-known trademark in the list of well-known marks maintained by Trade Mark Registry. The marks with Double Bull Device, and the Single Bull Device was declared in the case; Red Bull AG vs. C. Eswari & Co. to be well-known. Red Bull has sought trademark registrations in India for several of its wordmark as well as logo/device marks under Class 30 and 32. Apart from the above mentioned, Red bull has registrations for “Red Bull with the logo”, “Red Bull Energy Drink” and the blue/silver trapezoid.
Red Bull filed a trademark infringement case against the defendant, Bakewell Biscuits Private Limited, for allegedly infringing on its well-known brand. Bakewell Biscuits Pvt. Ltd. has its domain of manufacturing and export of variety of Biscuits, candies, lollipops, etc.
The case was against Bakewell Biscuits Private Limited for infringing the trademarks of Red Bull. Red Bull distressed with the offending usage of marks “Red Horse” and blue/silver Trapezoid Red Horse Label, the horses charging against one another with yellow backdrop/sun rising, which according to them is identical and/or deceptively similar to the Reb Bull’s prior, well-known and registered Red Bull marks.
Bakewell Biscuits have adopted an identical and/or deceptively similar mark “Red Horse” and “Red Horse label” incorporating the blue/silver trapezoid device and the device of two animals in charging position with yellow backdrop/sun disk. The font, stylization and colour combination of the marks are identical to that of the Red Bull marks.
'Red Horse Energy Candy'
The Red Bull has been successful in placing a strong prima facie case by submitting sales figures of the Red Bull Energy Drink, the market share, and the details in the expenses incurred by them towards advertising.
Through further investigations, it was brought to the limelight that the candies were made available on the website www.Bakewellbiscuits.co.in. Bakewell Biscuits was displaying the candies on the website advertising for queries for sales throughout India. Red Bull through their legal counsel issued a cease-and-desist notice to Bakewell Biscuits for which they did not receive any response which in due course turned to be a suit. The Red Bull has also objected and filed Opposition against the Bakewell Biscuit’s application for the registration with respect to the mark “Red Horse”.
The court observed the case and held that the balance of convenience lied in favour of Red Bull and irreparable loss would be caused if in this case ex-parte interim injunction was not granted.
In the High Court of Delhi on 18th May 2021, an ex-parte ad-interim injunction was granted against the Bakewell Biscuits Private Limited (Bakewell Biscuits Biscuits) favouring the Red Bull.
The court held that till the next date of hearing, the Bakewell Biscuits company, its director, partners, principles, employees, agents, distributors, franchisees, representatives assigns and all those in connection within the business are restrained from using the impugned marks or any other mark, device, logo, domain name or trade name which is deceptively or confusingly similar to the marks of Red Bull without permission, consent, or license receive from them.
Timely following up with the intellectual property rights is a way through which one can safeguard themselves. The Red Bull did the right thing notwithstanding the pandemic situation and took measures to secure misuse of their registered trademarks. A name doesn’t become a brand overnight, it requires ample resources and hard work. Therefore, trademark owners have to keep a track of infringers before they take undue advantage of others trademark.
Image source Red Horse: http://moploventas.blogspot.com/2018/07/caramelos-duros-varios-de-calidad.html
Image source Red Bull: https://turbologo.com/articles/red-bull-logo
Author: Sneha V Kopparad.