UK

Red Bull Takes On Tiny Local Brewery 'Redwell' Over Slightly Similar Sounding Name

14/08/2013 13:46 BST

A group of friends may have to take on the energy drink giant Red Bull after setting up a brewery with a slightly similar sounding name.

Redwell Brewing, which employs just eight people, has been threatened with legal action because both brand names begin with "Red" and end "ll".

The tiny Norwich-based brewery, actually named after the city's Redwell Street, has been warned consumers could become confused between the two brands.

The independent brewery – run by pals Patrick Fisher, Benjamin Thompson, Michael Baxter and Amy Hancock – has been threatened that if a resolution is not found by the end of the month it will face legal action.

brewery

Patrick Fisher, Benjamin Thompson, Mike Baxter and Amy Hancock of Redwell Brewing (left to right)

The friends, who said setting up the brewery had been a "dream," anxiously described how they are now "hoping and praying" they won't be forced to change their name.

"It was a a dream that grew and grew but this has just hit us for six and the whole thing feels like it is tainted by what's happened," Mr Fisher said.

"The letter came as a huge shock and a worry. We barely had time to catch our breath before a second letter came demanding an immediate response," he added.

The letter, sent about a month after the first bespoke Redwell beers hit the market in April, read: "The term 'well' is merely descriptive and therefore of no distinctive character at all.

"Furthermore the term 'bull' and the term 'well' share the same ending and just differ in two letters.

"The ending 'll' is identical and therefore the terms Red Bull and Redwell are confusingly similar from a visual as well from a phonetical point of view.

"The consumer will thus be confused as to the origin of the services."

However, the frustrated Mr Fisher argued Red Bull's demands were completely unjustified.

"It seems they have trademarked 'red' but we're not really even using the word 'red'," he said.

"It didn't in a million years occur to us that we were treading on their toes.

"Our solicitors think we've got a good case but we haven't got the same financial muscle so we're hoping and praying we aren't forced to change our name."

Red Bull said it would not comment on a pending case.