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Red Bull v. Red Horse- Trademark Infringement

September 20, 2021

By Arpit Kalra and Pranit Biswas

Red Bull is a brand which is almost synonymous with energy drinks, on a global scale. Just like the brand name, equally famous is their product packaging and logo, comprising of the red-bulls design (reebyull2 /redbull6 ). This rather ubiquitous brand was recently the subject matter of a trademark infringement matter before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.

THE PLAINTIFF

As noted above, the Plaintiff, Red Bull AG, is involved in, inter alia, manufacturing, and marketing of energy drinks sold under the Red Bull Marks. The Plaintiff is the owner of various trade marks in India, with the ones relevant to the present case being reebyull2, , RED BULL,redbul4 , redbull5/ redbull6. As noted in the Order also, Plaintiff’s trademark RED BULL is specifically recorded as a well-known trademark in the list of well-known marks maintained by the Trade Marks Registry. Further, Plaintiff’s marks and redbull8 have been declared as ‘well-known’ by the Delhi High Court in the case of Red Bull AG Vs. C. Eswari & Ors.[1]

THE DEFENDANT

Defendant herein is a company named BAKEWELL BISCUITS PRIVATE LIMITED, which is engaged in, inter alia, manufacture, and sale of various confectionery products. The Defendant has an active website at https://www.bakewellbiscuits.co.in/.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

The Plaintiff discovered that Defendant is offering for sale/selling candies under the name RED HORSE with packaging/ style:redbull9 , as the same was advertised on their website. Thus, the Plaintiff issued a Cease & Desist Notice to them, which went unanswered. However, Defendant through their counsel had purportedly reached out to the Plaintiff’s counsel, but the same did not lead to compliance.

The Defendant had also filed an application for the mark in class 30 vide application no. 4327842 dated October 22, 2019, which was opposed by the Plaintiff in 2020.

In view of the above facts, the Plaintiff being aggrieved, filed a suit before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, inter alia seeking ex-parte and/or ad-interim relief along with an application for appointment of Local Commissioner (although the Plaintiff has requested to keep the said application pending for the time being, due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation in the Delhi/NCT area. Further, the Plaintiff had also sought exemption from serving advance suit papers on Defendant.

Court Order

Observations

The Court observed that Plaintiff had successfully established a prima facie case for an ex-parte decree in its favour as the balance of convenience was in their favour and that Plaintiff would suffer irreparable loss in case ex-parte interim injunction was not granted.

While the Learned Single Judge Mr. Sanjeev Narula did not discuss the matter in depth in the Order dated May 18, 2021, a comparative chart of the Plaintiff’s marks vs. the Defendant’s marks was laid out, which leaves little to the imagination:

redbull11redbull12

Thus, till the next date of hearing, the Court restrained the Defendant from using the above marks in question, in respect of any goods.

Conclusion

The above case appears to be a glaringly obvious prima facie case of infringement, and as one would expect in such a case, the Court has acted in the best interests of the right holder, especially by exempting the Plaintiff from serving advance suit copies upon the Defendant.

[1] CS (COMM) 1062/2018

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