Delhi High Court dismisses Red Bull’s injunction application against Pepsi from using tagline “Stimulates Mind. Energizes Body.” for its energy drink ‘Sting’

In 2018, Red Bull filed a trademark suit before the Delhi High Court for its mark ‘Vitalizes Body and Mind.’ against PepsiCo’s use of its tagline ‘Stimulates Mind. Energizes Body.’ on the body of its energy drink product – STING. Red Bull claimed that the marks are similar and Pepsi’s use of ‘Stimulates Mind. Energizes Body.’ amounts to infringement and passing off its trademark – ‘Vitalizes Body and Mind.’ Pepsi defended its use of the tagline as being different and descriptive of the product, thus there is no trademark infringement.

The Delhi High Court by order dated April 06, 2022 dismissed Red Bull’s injunction application on primarily 3 grounds – Red Bull failed to establish prima facie case in its favour, both taglines are descriptive & laudatory in nature and whether Red Bull’s tagline has acquired distinctiveness or secondary meaning can only be established at trial.

The court found that Red Bull’s tagline ‘Vitalizes Body and Mind’ is a phrase expression which has a direct reference to the quality, intended purpose, values and other characteristics of Red Bull’s product. Hence, use of a descriptive mark by Red Bull, which is laudatory in nature is in violation of Section 9 and could not have been granted registration.

The court held that Pepsi’s adoption of a descriptive mark to describe its product cannot be considered as infringement and Pepsi would be entitled to the benefit of Section 30(2)(a) and Section 35 of the Trade Marks Act.

This matter was handled in collaboration with K&S Partners.

JSA team comprised Lead Partner – Dheeraj Nair and Senior Associate – Shruti Dass.