AB Inbev wins battle of the Bud in 100-year trademark war

22 January, 2013
Bud Premier Select

Budvar's Bud Premier Select

An EU court has dismissed Budweiser Budvar’s challenge against AB Inbev's use of the term ‘Bud’  in the latest round of the decades-long trademark saga.

AB Inbev’s Budweiser can now be referred to as Bud in all 27 EU states.

In a statement today (Tuesday 22 January) the General Court said it “dismisses the actions brought by Budějovický Budvar against the registration of the Community trade mark ‘Bud’ for beer applied for by Anheuser-Busch”.

The Czech brewer’s challenge hinged on the argument that ‘Bud’ could be considered an appellation of origin.

The Luxemberg-based court found that Budweiser Budvar’s evidence was insufficient to prevent AB-Inbev registering and using the trademark.

The statement continued: “That trade mark can be registered because of the insignificant use in France and Austria of the appellation of origin ‘bud’.”

In response to the ruling, AB Inbev said: “We are extremely pleased to have confirmed our right to a Bud trademark registration valid throughout the entire European Union. This ruling is majorly important in that it will expand our already strong global protections for Bud and Budweiser.

“While there are only a few countries in Europe where we do not have a registration for Bud or Budweiser, this registration will fill in those few remaining gaps. We will now have virtually world-wide protection for the Bud or Budweiser brands.”

Denis Cox, PR controller of Budvar UK, said: "The ruling yesterday doesn't make any difference to us whatsoever as the decision finds AB InBev are no nearer to their goal of making the Budweiser name their own sole property.

"To put it in perspective, this is just one more little skirmish in the 106-years old trademark war and they have only just won one round of it. To be generous lets say it was a  very small compensation prize for the humiliation they suffered over the UK High Court's decision of a week ago that we were entitled to continue to share the UK market with them."

Last week (January 15), the Czech brewer won a ruling at the UK’s Supreme Court that cleared the way for both Budweiser Budvar and AB InBev to use the Budweiser name.

The case, in which AB-Inbev tried to have Budweiser Budvar stripped of its right to the Budweiser trademark in the UK, was at appeal stage and so marks the cessation of litigation in the market.

Commenting on the decision Budvar CEO Jiri Bocek said: “This attempt to change the final decision of the court proves the long term interest of AB InBev in trying to gain exclusive rights for the Budweiser name at any cost."

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