Global drinks giant Red Bull is seeking an injunction against a New Zealand energy drinks maker that it alleges has breached copyright.

Christchurch-based Red launched a vodka and energy pre-mixed drink earlier this year.

Almost immediately, it attracted the attention of Red Bull maker of the highest selling energy drink in the world, with more than five billion cans sold every year.

Red Bull's lawyers wrote to its latest competitors outlining perceived copyright breaches.


"It was inevitable that the Red beverage would gain sales as a result of being associated with Red Bull and that it would mislead and deceive consumers," it said.

"It even smells and tastes like Red Bull energy drink."

The cheeky Kiwi-based manufacturer of the 7 per cent alcoholic drink responded by using quotes from Red Bull's legal threat in some of its marketing campaigns.

It even put its red-and-white cans alongside Red Bull's distinctive blue-and-silver cans and asked consumers, "Can you spot the difference?"

On its Facebook page, Red said: "Attention Red fans. The folks at Red Bull are very concerned.

Attention ЯED fans. The folks at Red Bull are very concerned. They're worried you might mistake our drink ЯED can for a...

Posted by Red Vodka + Energy on Monday, May 18, 2015

"They're worried you might mistake our drink Red can for a can of Red Bull. While we're certain they have only your best interests at heart, we think you'll be able to spot the difference."

But now, they face a potentially expensive legal battle to keep trading.

Red Bull New Zealand Limited has lodged an interlocutory application for injunction at the High Court at Auckland to stop Drink Red Limited, which has also released sugar-free and 1 per cent versions of the vodka and energy drink, from trading under its current brand.


The case is being called at 10am on Friday.

Neither party responded to approaches for comment today.