Paul Cox

Clarke Willmott supports Red Bull's trademark infringement case

The Southampton office of national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP has supported energy drink manufacturer, Red Bull, in taking successful action around the UK to prevent third parties from using the Red Bull brand in connection with the sale of unauthorised e-cigarette liquids.

Clarke Willmott has taken action against several e-cigarette businesses which are infringing Red Bull’s trade mark rights with all but one business, TheVapourPlanet.co.uk, immediately agreeing to cease selling e-cigarette liquids under the Red Bull brand and livery.

Paul Cox, Partner at Clarke Willmott LLP, said: “E-liquid sellers should avoid using Red Bull’s brand and livery otherwise they risk further action being taken against them. Red Bull will not tolerate third parties infringing their rights in this way and have instructed us to take all necessary steps to prevent such infringements in the UK and to recover any profits which are derived from such activities and its legal fees. We would encourage all e-liquid sellers to cease any use of the Red Bull brand and livery immediately to avoid further action being taken against them. Sellers should also be aware that the sale of counterfeit goods is a criminal offence.”

Red Bull has since issued court proceedings against TheVapourPlanet.co.uk and its sole director for trade mark infringement.

The proceedings were issued against Emil Marian Hryniewski (trading as TheVapourPlanet.co.uk) and a company he controlled called Online Pro Limited (trading as Vapourplanet.co.uk) which were selling e-liquids using the Red Bull and Red Energy logos and images of the Red Bull can. These images infringed various intellectual property rights owned by Red Bull in the UK.

Initially, Emil Marian Hryniewski signed a letter of undertakings to resolve the matter by agreeing to cease using the Red Bull brand and livery and Red Energy logo through his website at TheVapourPlanet.co.uk. However, after providing the undertakings, he incorporated a separate company and registered a new, very similar domain name through which he continued to sell the infringing products.

Visitors to the original website were forwarded to the new website. Following an unsuccessful attempt by Red Bull to come to a commercial agreement and resolve the matter amicably out of court, it had no alternative but to issue proceedings to enforce the terms of the original undertakings and sue for trade mark infringement.

The action was successful with the Court granting an order restraining the defendants from infringing Red Bull’s rights and the defendants were ordered to pay Red Bull’s costs.

Red Bull has also recovered significant sums of money in respect of its legal costs and profits derived by the third parties from this activity.

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