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Red Bull’s plea on trademark rejected

Topics Covered: IPR related issues.

Red Bull’s plea on trademark rejected:


The Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) has rejected a plea from Red Bull, manufacturer of an energy drink, for the removal of a trademark registered in the name of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited.

What’s the issue?

  • Red Bull has adopted a trademark with tagline “Gives You Wings” and said due to the extensive publicity, the concept of an animal/human acquiring wings after consumption of the Red Bull Energy Drink has become exclusively associated with it.
  • However, another trademark was registered in November 2001 with the tagline “Your Wings to Life”, in the name of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited. Now, Red Bull had sought its cancellation.

What has the IPAB said while dismissing the petition?

The rival trademarks are neither deceptively similar nor identical with. The applicant mark “Your Wings to life” is not the main mark. It is the sub-brand.

  • Therefore, the goodwill and reputation alleged by the applicant is not pertaining to the main mark Red Bull. Hence, both trademarks are not similar.
What is a trademark?

In layman’s language, it is a visual symbol which may be a word signature, name, device, label, numerals or combination of colours used by one undertaking on goods or services or other articles of commerce to distinguish it from other similar goods or services originating from a different undertaking.

The legal requirements to register a trademark under the Act are:

  1. The selected mark should be capable of being represented graphically (that is in the paper form).
  2. It should be capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one undertaking from those of others.
  3. It should be used or proposed to be used mark in relation to goods or services for the purpose of indicating or so as to indicate a connection in the course of trade between the goods or services and some person have the right to use the mark with or without identity of that person.

Different types of trademarks that may be registered in India:

  1. Any name (including personal or surname of the applicant or predecessor in business or the signature of the person), which is not unusual for trade to adopt as a mark.
  2. An invented word or any arbitrary dictionary word or words, not being directly descriptive of the character or quality of the goods/service.
  3. Letters or numerals or any combination thereof.
  4. The right to proprietorship of a trademark may be acquired by either registration under the Act or by use in relation to particular goods or service.
  5. Devices, including fancy devices or symbols
  6. Monograms
  7. Combination of colors or even a single color in combination with a word or device
  8. Shape of goods or their packaging
  9. Marks constituting a 3- dimensional sign.
  10. Sound marks when represented in conventional notation or described in words by being graphically represented.


The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks heads the TRADE MARKS Registry offices and functions as the Registrar of TRADE MARKS.

What is Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB)?

It was constituted on September 15, 2003 by the Indian Government to hear and resolve the appeals against the decisions of the registrar under the Indian Trademarks Act, 1999 and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

·         Since April 2, 2007, IPAB has been authorized to hear and adjudicate upon the appeals from most of the decisions, orders or directions made by the Patent Controller under the Patents Act. Therefore, all pending appeals of Indian High Courts under the Patents Act were transferred to IPAB.

Organization of an IPAB Bench:

Each Bench of the IPAB includes a Judicial Member and a Technical Member. The qualifications for appointment as a technical member of the IPAB are mentioned in The Trade Marks Act and the Patents Act.



Appeals from the decision of the Controller to the IPAB must be made within three months from the date of the decision/ order or direction, according to the, or within such further time as the IPAB permits, with the appropriate fees. An extension is available for filing the appeal by way of a Condonation of Delay (COD) petition.


Prelims Link:

  1. IPAB- composition and jurisdiction.
  2. What is an intellectual property right?
  3. What is a trademark?
  4. Who functions as the Registrar of TRADE MARKS?
  5. Different types of trademarks that may be registered in India.
  6. The legal requirements to register a trademark in India are?

Mains Link:

Evaluate the provisions of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy in India. What are the challenges being faced by it? Suggest measures needed to ensure transparency and enhance protection of the same.

Sources: pib.