A small gin producer in Norwich has been threatened with legal action by Red Bull for use of the word ‘bull’ in its name Bullards. And the gin house plans to fight back…
Energy drinks giant Red Bull may give you wings, but it might also give you a sizeable legal headache if recent events are anything to go by.
Red Bull is opposing an application by Norwich-based gin producer Bullards to register its name at the UK Intellectual Property Office, with the former saying there is a “likelihood of confusion on behalf of the public” with regards to both brand names including “the word bull”.
“What they’re claiming is ludicrous,” said Russell Evans of Bullards. “There is no confusion whatsoever and actually if we did concede we would be admitting there was.”
In a legal letter to Bullards, Red Bull said it recognised that “the brand stems from a historical family business” and that it “does not want to prevent Bullards from doing anything it has historically done.”
Red Bull is allegedly prepared to resolve the dispute provided Bullards removes a series of goods and services from its trademark application and registration, including energy drinks, events and non-alcoholic beverages.
Bullards, which was founded in 1837, will not be required to change its brand name. “But they’re saying we can’t do events, we can’t do soft drinks, which we are going to do because we’re going to do tonics, we can’t do energy drinks – not that we would ever want to do energy drinks,” Evans told BBC News.
Evans added it would cost “thousands of pounds” to remove the goods and services and accused Red Bull of “trying to bully us”.
“If needs be we’ll go to court and let’s see what a court of law has to say on it,” he said.