TCP’s Lawsuit against Red Bull China Rejected again
Recently, a legal document dated June 24, 2019 showed that a lawsuit filed by Thailand’s T.C. Pharmaceutical Industries Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as TCP) against Chinese Red Bull producers and sellers was rejected by the Zhejiang Provincial Higher People's Court according to law.
The legal document indicates that the dispute over the trademark ownership of “Red Bull” is still undecided, and it will take more time for the judgement to come into force. The lawsuit of trademark infringement in this case is also correlated to the issues of trademark ownership, duration of license, equity structure of joint ventures and duration of operation, etc., so it’s difficult for the court to judge the case separately. The court rejected the lawsuit of TCP on the premise that it did not constitute substantial impact or damage to TCP’s right to appeal.
In October 2016, TCP did not extend its trademark authorization to Red Bull China when it expired. However, according to Huabin, the actual operator of Red Bull China, TCP has begun to file lawsuits against Red Bull China since 2014. In September 2014, during the negotiations of the two, TCP issued lawyer's letters to Red Bull China's Hubei, Jiangsu and Guangdong factories, accusing them for trademark infringement and unfair competition, requiring them to stop producing and selling Red Bull products and using its trademark. It also terminated the supply of flavors to the three factories. Since August 2016, TCP has initiated lawsuits against the whole industry chain of Red Bull China, including its producers, sellers and can suppliers. The lawsuit dismissed by Zhejiang High Court in recent days is one of the multiple lawsuits initiated by TCP.
Chinese food industry analyst Zhu Danpeng said that the gradual disclosure of these rulings shows that the competition between Red Bull China and overseas parties (TCP and it’s affiliated companies) in Chinese functional beverage market is increasingly fierce. Red Bull China has made great achievements in the Chinese market after 24 years’ investment and operation. The successor of TCP Thailand now wants to seek more market benefits, thus initiating large-scale litigations and trying to seek new partners and agents.