Energy Drink brand, Redbull, faces a Trademark dispute with famous gin brand Bullards

Famous Energy Drink producer, ‘Redbull’, has hit an English gin company with a trademark dispute that concerns their use of the word ‘gin’ within the brand’s name. However, the respondent, Bullards, have discussed their willingness to fight this case, despite their smaller size in comparison to their competitor.

Bullards, founded in 1837, were originally famed for making beer, and importing wine and spirits, prior to them being taken over by Watneys, a national brewery, in 1963. However, recently in 2015, the Bullards name was revised due to its important family history values, with the company beginning to focus on their gin making as their best-seller.

Redbull was founded in Austria in 1987, a lengthy 150 years after that of its’ trademark opponent. 

Bullards received a letter from Redbull at their Norwich head offices, stating that their reasoning for opposing Bullards’ intellectual property rights, was due to the high ‘likelihood of confusion on behalf of the public’ as a result of the ‘bull’ wording, and continue to explain their concern regarding the breadth of the goods and services’ that are contained within Bullards’ trademark registration and application. Also in the letter were statements from Redbull explaining their preparedness to resolve this dispute if Bullards successfully delete a selection of their goods and services from its original trademark application and registration.

Despite launching this dispute recently, Red Bull have talked to the BBC about how they ‘do not deem it appropriate to comment on a current legal case’, leaving interested onlookers in darkness until further information is released. The application from Redbull did mention their appreciation for the family-running element of the Bullards’ business, and how they did not want to take away the importance of anything that has been done by the family business historically. 

Bullards have responded by stating that their opinions stand strong in how they believe that this claim is ludicrous. They have also clearly expressed their frustration with the dispute, after stating how there has never been, nor is there any confusion ‘whatsoever’ and if they were to concede, then they would be admitting there was. Additionally, a representative for Bullards has claimed that the dispute requested that the gin company halt holding events, making soft drinks, energy drinks and tonics, regardless of what their plans were originally for their company, to which they continued by stating how Redbull’s request to remove any previous goods and services with the name on it would cost ‘thousands of pounds’ and has openly accused them of attempting to ‘bully’ them. The representative has continued to explain that if Redbull want to go to court, and if that is required, they will ‘see what a court of law has to say’

Keep an eye out on the Trademarkroom’s Reading Room to stay up to date on this trademark dispute. If you would like advice regarding a trademark dispute, or how to register a trademark, please get in contact with the team today to start the process.

Written by Elysia Shirley, a student at Southampton Solent University.

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