Red Bull on fire over UKIPO trade mark opposition win

Red Bull, the energy drink supplier, has sprouted wings and flew away with a victory after successfully opposing a BBQ namesake.

The initial application filed was for ‘Red Bull BBQ Grills’ in respect of class 11 for barbeque smokers and grills’ by UK based CokkinPellets. The mark itself was a logo which also included an image of a bull’s head.

Red Bull filed an opposition against the application, citing two marks. The first mark was the image of two bulls fighting beneath the words ‘Red Bull’, and the second mark a word mark for ‘red bull’.

The opposition claimed that the marks were substantially similar and likely to cause consumer confusion.

Considering the opposition, the UKIPO consider the different levels of similarity between the marks. Heather Harrison, acting on behalf of the IPO, firstly highlight that while the bull images were quite different, there was a medium level of visual similarity.

In respect of aural similarity, she highlighted the lack of distinctive character of the term ‘BBQ Grills’ therefore ruled there was at least a medium level of aural similarity, which could increase to aurally identical if the non-distinctive elements are not vocalised by the public, which is likely.

She also ruled the marks were conceptually identical or highly similar.

Coupling this with the fact that Red Bull’s marks are registered in respect of ‘apparatus for cooking’, Heather Harrison ruled there was indirect confusion and therefore awarded Red Bull success in the opposition and an award of £1300.00

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