01 October 2021

Red Bull serves writ to gin maker Bullards

United Kingdom | The artisanal gin maker Bullards has been threatened with legal action by energy drink manufacturer Red Bull because there is a “likelihood of confusion” over brand names – both brand names include the term “bull”, the BBC reported on 18 September 2021.

Red Bull is opposing an application to register the trademark Bullards before the UK Intellectual Property Office. The letter said Red Bull is “prepared to resolve this dispute” if Bullards deletes a series of goods and services from its trademark application and registration, including energy drinks, events, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Russell Evans, the co-founder and Managing Director of Bullards gin, said he laughed when he received the letter. “There is no confusion whatsoever and actually if we did concede we would be admitting there was.”

He said it would cost “thousands of pounds” to remove the goods and services listed in the letter and that Red Bull are “trying to bully us”.

Mr Evans was quoted as saying: “They’re not saying we have to stop doing it [using the Bullards name] for gin, 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.”

Bullards was founded in 1837, making beer and importing wine and spirits, before it was taken over by brewer Watneys in 1963. The Bullards name was revived in 2015 by Mr Evans, with the company focusing on gin.

Per the BBC, this is not the first legal dispute that Red Bull has had with a British firm.

In 2013, Red Bull threatened the brewery Redwell Brewing with legal action over its name, which starts with “Red” and ends with “ll”, before apparently backing down, saying there was “no dispute”.

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