The German PGL GmbH applied for the Bullock logo for clothing and earplugs. To Red Bull, the logo is like a red rag to a bull: those two ox heads and the Bull in the word Bullock naturally recall the world-famous Red Bull logo. In its opposition, the company based its claim on the Red Bull logo registered for clothing as well as energy drinks.
However, Red Bull was in for an unpleasant shock at the beginning of December. According to EUIPO, the brands are only ‘remotely similar’, and the office states it only lies in the word Bull. However, with Bullock, the word Bull is part of the complete word element, and the Austrians preface it with the word Red. So there’s hardly any resemblance, according to EUIPO, and therefore there is no risk of confusion.
And what about the excellent reputation of the Red Bull logo? After all, you don’t have to demonstrate a likelihood of confusion for these types of well-known brands, a consumer-established link between the two brands suffices. However, EUIPO is oblivious to any link either. The brands are hardly similar, and the requested products for Bullock (including clothing) belong to a very different economic sector with no overlap with the energy drink industry, according to EUIPO. So there’s not likely to be any link made between the two brands.
I am seriously surprised by this statement. Strangely, EUIPO doesn’t attach importance to the conceptual similarity of the figurative elements in the two trademarks. For me, Bullock with those two ox heads (they could also be bulls) immediately evokes an association with the world-famous Red Bull logo and the two bulls. Or is that my professional bias?
It’s also striking that EUIPO does not see the overlap in the clothing and energy drink industries. Very questionable… A lifestyle brand like Red Bull, with stores for merchandise and clothing, is quite close to the clothing industry, doesn’t it? Suddenly I imagine Max Verstappen walking past in his racing gear! So no, in my opinion, the case should get a do-over.