The ‘F1 Racing Energy Drink’ has a logo which features a chequered circle with the words ‘F1’ in the middle and a slogan which states “Start Your Engine”. The reason Formula One Licensing BV is suing Speed Drinks is that the drink’s logo and slogan can pass off as the F1 Grand Prix’s own logo (below). Somehow the only similarity that I can see are the words ‘F1’ and there is still see a big difference between the actual F1 logo’s design and the drink’s version of it. Maybe the company thinks that everyone is unable to tell the difference or that Speed Drink should have paid them some form of royalty.
Anyway, Formula One Licensing BV had agreed to withdraw the suit if Speed Drinks retracted its challenge that the ‘F1’ trademark was generic in nature. Since Speed Drinks have agreed that the ‘F1’ logo and trademark is distinctive and not generic, the suit was withdrawn and they must now hand over around 65,000 cans of the beverage to be destroyed.
I think if you happen to pass by some place where a can or a carton of the F1 Energy Drink you should buy a few cans. It may be collectible as a piece of F1 history where a beverage company is forced to stop selling a drink all because the company running the F1 races think that it is offensive.
However, in 2007, the Formula One group failed to win exclusive rights to the ‘F1’ abbreviation after the U.K. Trademark Registry said the public associated Formula One with a sport rather than a brand name. Maybe Speed Drinks should have stuck to their guns. Or is this a case of a giant putting pressure on a minnow and winning.