Red wine being poured into a wine glass

Sardinian wine producer defends his Boeli brand refutes Red Bull trademark

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. A small wine producer in Sardinia, Mattia Muggittu, has received a legal notice from the maker of Red Bull, claiming that the logo on his first bottle of wine, featuring two traditional Sardinian oxen, is similar to the one on Red Bull’s energy drink.
  2. Muggittu says that the label for his debut wine, Boeli, is “in no way a copy” of Red Bull’s and represents a tradition of Sardinia and the use of oxen in ploughing vineyards.
  3. Muggittu has received support from people across Sardinia and Austria, and despite the legal dispute, he plans to expand his company.

Full Article

In an unfolding copyright infringement dispute, Mattia Muggittu, a 22-year-old proprietor of a small wine producer in Sardinia called Muggittu di Mamoida, finds himself pitted against the energy drink behemoth Red Bull over the design of his first bottle. Red Bull alleges that their logo, featuring two bulls within a golden sun, has been too closely replicated by Muggittu’s label, showcasing two traditional Sardinian oxen. This confrontation leaves the young entrepreneur feeling like a David battling a Goliath. Despite the demoralising impact of this legal challenge at such an early stage in his business venture, Muggittu’s determination and resilience illustrate the calibre of businessperson he truly is.

Last year, Muggittu inherited his grandfather’s five-hectare (12-acre) vineyard in the central Sardinian village of Mamoiada, subsequently creating a wine called Boeli Cannonau, derived from red grapes indigenous to Italy. Intent on designing a label that reflected tradition, he opted for an image of two oxen connected by a yoke, a nod to the animals used for ploughing older vineyards in Sardinia. Additionally, the label features cup marks discovered on an ancient sacred stone found nearby. Muggittu vehemently denies any intentional similarity or connection to Red Bull’s logo, asserting that the energy drink never crossed his mind. Unfortunately, upon registering his brand with the chamber of commerce, Red Bull contacted him, alleging copyright infringement. Muggittu faces a mere two months before the case goes to trial, barring a mutual agreement—a scenario that he likens to a David vs. Goliath battle. Nevertheless, he remains resolute, prepared to fight for the traditions and culture Sardinia has cherished for centuries.

In response to the allegations, Red Bull declined to comment on the pending legal matter, citing standard company policy. By comparison, Muggittu’s Boeli, which has produced 2,000 bottles and is exclusively sold in Sardinia, seems insignificant alongside Red Bull’s 11.5 billion cans sold globally, generating a turnover of EUR 11.6bn (GBP 10.25bn) in 2022 alone. Fully aware of the impossibility of competing against a well-established brand like Red Bull, Muggittu remains undeterred, drawing encouragement from the outpouring of support from Sardinia and Austria in this challenging period and staying committed to his original business objectives.

Muggittu asserts that his struggle against a global giant has garnered widespread support, and he reiterates his unwavering determination to continue expanding his business, regardless of any obstacles. “So many people are on my side, telling me this is a battle between Sardinia and a global giant,” he confidently stated. “I want to expand the company—nothing will stop me.”