Red Bull GmbH v Bullsone Co., Ltd [2017] ATMO 121 (19 October 2017)


Bullsone applied to register the trade mark covering a range of goods in Classes 1 (chemical additives), 3 (paint preparations), 4 (oils and lubricants), 5 (deodorants and insect repellents), and 12 (motor vehicle accessories).

The application was opposed by Red Bull on a number of grounds but only section 60 (prior reputation) was dealt with in the decision.

To demonstrate its reputation under section 60, Red Bull led significant evidence of the use of its trade mark.

Red Bull was able to put on evidence that illustrated its significant use of its trade marks, including in Australia, as well as growth and sales figures that were ‘very significant’.  Crucially, the evidence of use demonstrated ‘considerable brand extension using the RED BULL trade mark’, including across various motorsports.

From the evidence of use led by Red Bull, the Hearing Officer took particular note of the below marketing techniques used by Red Bull commenting that there were ‘usages of a single charging bull quite similar’ to the applied for mark.

As a result of the reputation Red Bull was able to demonstrate, the Hearing Officer found that consumers would, at least, be caused to wonder if there was some connection between these two ‘bull’ formative trade marks.

The Bullsone trade mark was refused registration.

To view the Office decision, click here.

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