In 2003, Henk de Vries, creator and owner of the Bulldog for 40 years, launched his own energy drink simply called The Bulldog. The world famous logo of his growling dog was already on t-shirts, caps and iced tea. So why not?
But because the word Bull was included in the name of its drink, Red Bull saw red. The Austro-Thai collective threatened De Vries to withdraw its energy drinks from the market very quickly, as Bulldog unfairly benefits from Red Bull’s worldwide fame.
Bulldog damage over $300 million?
In 2017, the European Court nevertheless ruled that The Bulldog had not infringed Red Bull’s trademark rights. The Dutch company is now claiming 49 million euros to Red Bull and had the company and its bank accounts seized, according to documents in the possession of the magazine Quote.
According to the Bulldog’s lawyer, several attempts have been made to enter into talks with Red Bull, without success. The trial will therefore begin next November. Red Bull Netherlands informed Quote that he was awaiting this trial.
Based on extensive market research, Amsterdam-based Sman Business calculated a possible loss of over 300 million euros for Bulldog.
Over the past two decades, the global energy drink market has taken off. Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz has become a multi-billionaire with Red Bull. His business partner, the late Chaleo Yoovidhya, too. He was the third richest man in Thailand. In South Africa, Rodney Sacks is dribbling with billions, thanks in part to voracious Monster drinkers.
And that’s not counting the boom in THC drinks in the United States, a market that the Bulldog could completely nibble on.