Red Bull TM owner squashes licensee's right claim

发布时间: 2021/3/3 13:48:00

  The Supreme People's Court recently made a final judgment on the trademark dispute over several series of "红牛" (Note: official Chinese translation of RED BULL) trademarks (trademarks in dispute) between Red Bull Vitamin Drink Co., Ltd. and the Thailand-based T.C. Pharmaceutical Industries Co., Ltd. and held that the trademarks in dispute are owned by T.C. Company, denying the appeal of Red Bull and upholding the first-instance judgment made by Beijing High People's Court.

  In the 1970s, T.C. and its founder Chaleo Yoovidhya registered several series of trademarks including "RED BULL" "斗牛图形" in Thailand. In the 1990s, the Company registered associated trademarks including No.723201 and No.878072 trademarks "RED BULL" in China.

  Since 1996, T.C. had signed trademark licensing contracts on separate occasions with Red Bull whose boss is Chanchai Ruayrungruang, granting Red Bull exclusive use of No.723201 and No.878072 trademarks and other trademarks before October 6, 2016.

  T.C. had sued respectively multiple factories of REIGNWOOD GROUP with Chanchai Ruayrungruang as its holder over trademark dispute and unfair competition since 2016. Red Bull then challenged the T.C.'s ownership of these trademarks at Beijing High.

  T.C. held that Chanchai Ruayrungruang established several wholly-owned companies outside the Red Bull system without any permission of the other partners and the board of directors and produced and sold products affixed with relevant "红牛" trademarks for a long time without any authorization, damaging its legitimate rights seriously. In addition, Red Bull is still producing and selling products affixed with trademarks in dispute and making a huge profit even though the trademark licensing contracts expired on October 6, 2016, infringing T.C.'s trademark rights.

  Red Bull claimed that it respectively signed contracts with T.C. in 1995 and in 1998 and both indicated that T.C. "provides the product formulation, techniques and trademarks", which should be understood that T.C. Company agreed to authorize Red Bull to use the trademarks in dispute.

  Beijing High held that the trademarks in dispute are owned by T.C It could not be considered that Red Bull had the rights to use the trademarks in dispute and T.C. was responsible to transfer the trademarks in dispute based on the relevant contents of the above-mentioned contracts. Accordingly, Beijing High rebuffed all of Red Bull's claims.

  Disagreed to move on, Red Bull appealed to the Supreme People's Court.

  The Supreme People's Court held that Red Bull was authorized to use the trademarks in dispute by T.C. and the trademark licensing contracts regulated the rights and obligations of the two parties. Red Bull's use and publication of the trademarks in dispute did not mean the Company own the rights of the trademarks in dispute. Besides, Red Bull had made profits through the use of the trademarks in dispute and the license of the techniques and its claim to own the rights trademarks in dispute or own the rights with T.C. Company could not be supported. In this connection, the Court rejected Red Bull's appeal and upheld the first-instance judgment. (by Sun Fanghua)

  (Editor Li Xingyi)

  (All contents of this newspaper may not be reproduced or used without express permission)

主办单位:中国知识产权报社 未经许可不得复制