Red Bull wins appeal against Bulgarian producer of energy drinks

Bulgaria

Austrian energy drink producer Red Bull GmbH has won an appeal against the Bulgarian Patent and Trademark Office’s (PTO) refusal to cancel the word mark PIT BULL (National Registration No 47656), which was registered for goods in Class 32 of the Nice Classification.

On March 29 2013 the Administrative Court - Sofia City revoked the PTO’s May 2012 decision and ruled that Nova Trade Ltd, a Bulgarian producer of soft drinks, could mislead consumers by using the PIT BULL mark for its energy drinks.

The Administrative Court also took into consideration the well-known status of the RED BULL marks, as well as the similarity between the marks in question, and ruled that use by the Bulgarian competitor of the mark PIT BULL was taking unfair advantage of, and was detrimental to, the distinctive character of the RED BULL marks.

In overturning the decision of the Bulgarian PTO, the Administrative Court stipulated that the PIT BULL mark had been registered in violation of the provisions of Article 12 of the Bulgarian Law on Marks and Geographical Indications, as it was similar to Red Bull’s earlier marks.

The Bulgarian PTO and Nova Trade have appealed the Administrative Court's decision to Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court.

Bogdan Bogdanov, PETOŠEVIĆ, Sofia

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