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Red Bull Inexplicably Files Complaint Against Brewery Over the Word 'Ox'

The energy drink giant goes after Old Ox Brewery.

Old Ox Brewery/Facebook

Today in inexplicable lawsuits: Red Bull, the Austrian energy drink brand, has filed a trademark complaint against a small 30-barrel brewery. According to All About Beer, Ashburn, Virginia's Old Ox Brewery was notified by the complaint earlier this week, which was filed in response to Old Ox's attempt to register its name and logo. In its complaint, Red Bull argue the Old Ox logo — which features a colorful "X" inside a circle — is "likely to cause confusion" with Red Bull's red and yellow, two-toro logo. The complaint argues Old Ox should be unable to use the color red and the word "ox" because "an 'ox' and a 'bull' both fall within the same class of 'bovine' animals and are virtually indistinguishable to most consumers. In addition, an ox is a castrated bull."

In his response to Red Bull, Old Ox owner Chris Burns lashes out at the complaint, pointing out it's unlikely that consumers will mistake the high-powered energy drink with his fledging 10-month old brewery. As Burns writes:

Do you plan to herd all heifers, cows, yaks, buffalo, bison, and steer into your intellectual property corral, too? When we refused to succumb to your demands, you responded by filing a formal opposition to not just our trademark but to the very name Old Ox Brewery. Way to step on our American dream. You say you are protecting your intellectual property rights, but your claim, in our opinion, is Red Bulls**t.

In its complaint, Red Bull is asking the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office to deny Old Ox's registration requests. Burns offers an olive branch, of sorts: "We agree NEVER to produce energy drinks," he writes. "In exchange, we are asking for one simple thing: Leave us alone. Drop this trademark dispute. The only people benefiting are the lawyers."

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