March 2019. Red Bull has finally managed to halt the registration of the device mark Big Horn. Although in May last year the European Trademark Office EUIPO concluded there was no risk of the logo being confused with that of Red Bull, in early January the EUIPO Board of Appeal nevertheless ruled in Red Bull’s favour.
CLEAR DIFFERENCES, SO AN INFRINGEMENT AFTER ALL
Despite concluding that the similarity between the two trademarks was quite small and that the consumer would clearly spot the differences between them, the BOA still felt that Red Bull’s trademark had been infringed.
This was because Red Bull had submitted many examples showing that its logo of two bulls clashing against a yellow sun has a reputation in the energy drinks market. Under trademark law, trademarks with a strong reputation are afforded extensive protection.
In any case, Big Horn’s website makes no secret of the fact that the company’s aim is to benefit from Red Bull’s reputation.
Even if, as in this case, there’s no real risk of confusion, but consumers could still make a connection (a link) between the trademark with the reputation and the new one, there might still be an infringement. In this instance, the BOA maintains that a link could indeed be made, given that both logos apply the same concept of two aggressive horned animals clashing against the background of a yellow sun.
According to the EUIPO Board of Appeal, Big Horn is trying to take unfair advantage of the reputation of the Red Bull logo. This is damaging to Red Bull’s trademark and Big Horn has consequently been refused registration.