Bullards expert: 'We are at a crucial stage in Red Bull case'

Bill Jones, pictured inset, is representing Bullards Spirits and its founded Russell Evans against Red Bull

Bill Jones, pictured inset, is representing Bullards Spirits and its founded Russell Evans against Red Bull - Credit: Denise Bradley/Julia Holland

An ongoing feud between a Norwich gin company and global energy drink giant is most likely to be settled by negotiations according to the legal representative for the case. 

Bullards was sent a list of products it should not sell to prevent a "conflict of interest" between the distiller and Red Bull due to the naming of the companies. 

Bill Jones,  chairman and head of professional services at specialist intellectual property law firm ip21 has been overseeing the case as the representative for Bullards against Red Bull.

Although the court case is not expected to take place for another three to six months, Mr Jones said the saga is reaching a "crucial stage". 

Bill Jones, chairman and head of professional services at ip21, a specialist intellectual property law firm

Bill Jones, chairman and head of professional services at ip21, a specialist intellectual property law firm - Credit: Julia Holland

Mr Jones said: "The relative sizes of the two companies speak for themselves. It's understandable that Bullards - given the life size of the brand - think they have the better case.

"But Red Bull has a case that has to be answered. Usually these things are settled by negotiation and a deal is done." 

Wymondham-based ip21 previously oversaw the case between Red Bull and Redwell Brewery eight years ago which resulted in a negotiation as the Norfolk company agreed not to use its name for energy drinks.

Russell Evans, left, founder of Bullards, and John Bullard, crush Red Bull cans as Red Bull are accu

Russell Evans, left, founder of Bullards Spirits, and family shareholder John Bullard, crush Red Bull cans as Red Bull are accusing Bullards of a conflict of interest with the brand names - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Mr Jones added: "There is no direct commercial conflict here. It's typically the case that the bigger company always wants to try and keep a space to expand it's activity.

"This a conflict for future competitive advantages.

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"Having come this far with the legal case it is almost certainly going to be negotiations. That keeps Bullards on a level pegging."

Bullards was founded in Norwich by Richard Bullard in 1837 with his great-great-grandson John G Bullard now a family shareholder who is keeping the tradition going.

Russell Evans, founder of Bullards, crushes a Red Bull can as Red Bull accuses Bullards of a conflic

Russell Evans, founder of Bullards Spirits, crushes a Red Bull can - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The Bullards brewery next to St Miles Bridge closed in 1966 but the company was revived as Bullards Spirits in 2015 by Russell Evans. 

Mr Jones said: "Bullards is prepared to fight for their cause. When both sides get to this crucial stage they will be told by their respective lawyers to be prepared for a back-up settlement even if they can't do that for the time being."

Red Bull said it cannot comment on ongoing legal cases.