The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled against Anheuser-Busch’s attempt to stop Czech rival Budějovický Budvar from using the ‘Budweiser’ name in the UK.
Both companies were given permission by the Court of Appeal to simultaneously register the ‘Budweiser’ trademark in 2000, given their history of co-existence in the UK market. However, in 2005, Anheuser-Busch started legal action to invalidate Budvar’s ‘Budweiser’ mark on the grounds that their application for the registration of the mark in the UK (1976) predates Budvar’s application (1989).
The Court of Appeal sought clarification from the CJEU, which has ruled in Budvar’s favour.
Marks & Clerk Solicitors acted for the Czech brewers Budějovický Budvar. Mark Blair, partner, said: “The two brands have co-existed in the UK for decades, differing in taste, price, and get up. The identical nature of the ‘Budweiser’ marks is an honest, historical co-incidence, and causes no significant confusion amongst UK consumers.”