Colour trademark Red Bull invalid

Colours can be trademarks. For many, the colour combination of blue and silver, is sufficient to recognize the Red Bull energy drink. In order to protect this colour combination, Red Bull has filed two trademarks, consisting of a survey with the two colours, accompanied with a description. The question here is, if these filing are sufficiently clear to meet the legal requirements.

The European Court stated in 2004 that colours can be trademarks, as long it is objectively clear enough, how they are being used. A vague description saying that, “the ratio of the colours is approximately 50% 50%” , is too broad, like the description “the two colours will be applied in equal proportion and juxtaposed to each other” (the descriptions of the two filings). For this reason these colour trademarks of Red Bull are declared invalid. But not all is lost. Red Bull also owns another registration showing the colour combination as actually used. In our opinion, this trademark is valid, although an invalidation action has been initiated against this trademark as well. Claiming colours is possible, as long as the claim is sufficiently specific (Images; source EUIPO databases).


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