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Trademark Infringement Makes Bull See Red

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According to an article on MSNBC.Com, Red Bull GmbH, the maker of the world’s top-selling energy drink, has gone to court to try to prevent the importation of bootleg Red Bull through Georgia, in violation of its trademark.

Red Bull GmbH filed a lawsuit on September 22, 2006 in a federal court in Atlanta,accusing an import company of selling “gray market” cans of the popular energy drink in Georgia and elsewhere in the United States to be imported to consumers in Argentina, Ireland, and Poland.

The lawsuit goes on to state that Kassir Import-Export Co. and Jihad and Ziad Kassir of Los Angeles “opportunistically” shipped in lower-priced “gray market” cans from overseas.

Red Bull was launched in Australia in 1987. The privately held company has been a huge seller in the beverage industry since it arrived in the United States in 1996, being the sixth-largest carbonated soft drink producer in the country, according to Beverage Digest. In 2005, Red Bull sold 42 million cases, an increase of 41 percent from the previous year.

The fraudulent gray market cans share the same color and look of the authorized Red Bull, however, the marketing phrases are written in other languages and have no batch code, are missing a toll-free number for consumer assistance, or utilize fraudulent codes printed on the bottom.

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