Owner of the Red Bull brand, Thai-based TC Pharmaceutical Industries (TCP), has recently announced that a court in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province has ruled that Red Bull China is infringing on its trademark and ordered the company to halt production and sale of ‘Red Bull’ beverages in China.
Red Bull China, also known as Red Bull Vitamin Drink Co Ltd, and managed by the Reignwood Group issued a statement that the court’s ruling is based on impaired judgment and has no ‘res judicata’ and enforcement power. As such, it will lodge its appeal to protect its legitimate rights and interests.
Heilongjiang Higher People’s Court ordered Red Bull Vitamin Drink Co Ltd, Beijing Red Bull Drink Sales Co, and Beijing Red Bull Drink Sales Co’s Heilongjiang branch to immediately stop the production and sale of “Red Bull Vitamin Functional Drink”, and cease their infringement on the trademark “Red Bull”. They are also demanded to jointly compensate TCP Rmb 100 million (US$14.45 million).
Earlier in October 2022, another court in Northeast China’s Jilin Province made a similar ruling against 3 companies managed by Reignwood Group, and ordered them to compensate TCP Rmb 30 million (US$4.3 million).
With the court rulings, many online and offline retail channels including JD.com, Tmall, and Walmart have removed ‘Red Bull Vitamin Functional Drink’ that were produced by Reignwood Group.
The trademark dispute started in 2016 with both parties having disagreement on their cooperation period, with TCP saying its 20 years while Red Bull China claimed it is 50 years. If it was based on 20 years, the Red Bull trademark license in China should have expired in 2016. However, Red Bull China insisted that the cooperation is still ongoing, and TCP has no right to produce and sell Red Bull drinks in mainland China.