Red Bull – The Bulldog: is prior use a due cause?

THE BULLDOG for energy drinks. RED BULLS oldest trademark dates from July 11th 1983, the Bulldog’s oldest registration (not registered for energy drinks) is a few days younger, july 14th 1983. Tensions arise when The Bulldog introduces their own energy drink under their name. The District Court rejected all of Red Bull’s claims (2007). However, in the appeal case in 2010 most of Red Bull’s claims are sustained. The Court of Appeal states that RED BULL is a reputable trademarks. BULL is more distinctive than RED and is a part of The BULLdog. Because of this the consumer will assume a link between the two marks.

The Bulldog filed for appeal with the Court of Cassation. The Bulldog claimed that the Court of Appeal did not interpret the due cause it has in using their name for energy drinks correctly. The Bulldog has been used since 1975 for various goods. Using this trademark for any additional products, such as energy drinks, is a logical step. The Court of Appeal only judged whether or not use of the name is necessary and not if there was another due cause. Because of the various Adwords cases the term due cause has been stretched somewhat. The Court of Cassation referred the matter to the European Court of Justice. The European Court will have to clarify what constitutes due cause. It is expected that this would entail more than was previously assumed. All is most certainly not lost for The Bulldog.


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