The Bulldog rightly claims damages from Red Bull

In 2007, Red Bull initiated legal action against the introduction of The Bulldog energy drinks, citing trademark infringement. The contention was that the trademark "The Bulldog" bore resemblance to Red Bull due to the shared element of "BULL". In 2010, the court sided with Red Bull on this. However, The Bulldog contested this decision, escalating the matter to the Supreme Court and eventually the European Court, arguing the legitimacy of their trademark use. They asserted that energy drinks were a natural extension of their offerings in coffee shops and that the trademark had been used in good faith for this purpose over several years. Eventually, The Bulldog's position was vindicated.


Having been cleared of trademark infringement, The Bulldog now seeks to recoup damages, estimated at 49 million euros, from Red Bull. Red Bull's actions were deemed unlawful for prohibiting The Bulldog from continuing to market energy drinks under its brand.

The court affirmed this conclusion. It was established that issuing a threat of injunction is illegal if that judgment is subsequently overturned. By issuing such a threat, The Bulldog was deprived of the opportunity to capitalize on its products.

In this regard, The Bulldog has already prevailed. Only the amount of damages remains to be determined. A prudent lesson emerges: refrain from threatening enforcement until a judgment becomes final.



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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?