European Court of Justice Rejects Anheuser-Busch's Bid to Register Budweiser as Its Trademark in EU

Aug 24 2010 - 11:19

The European Court of Justice ruled on July 29, 2010, that the global brewer Anheuser-Busch cannot register the word “Budweiser” as an EU trademark for its beer. This decision is in the favor of the Czech brewer Budejovicky Budvar, which had a prior claim to the name through the trademarks “Budweiser” and “Budweiser Budvar”.

Anheuser-Busch can still hold the trademark within individual EU member states, as it currently does in 23 European countries, but not across the EU trading bloc as a whole. This ruling upholds all current registrations and does not give the Czech brewer greater rights or protection.

The co-existence agreements between the two parties were established in the 1870s agreeing to the Budweiser beer being sold in the United States by Anheuser-Busch and the Budweiser brand sold by Budejovicky Budvar in Europe. However, Anheuser-Busch filed an application in 1996 to register the Budweiser brand on the EU territory as well. Budejovicky Budvar challenged this application three years later, arguing it had already registered this name for its beer brands in Germany, Austria, Italy and the Benelux countries.

The name “Budweiser” means “from Budweis”, which is the German form of the name for the Czech city Budejkovice.

In 2005, the EU’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM) ruled that Anheuser-Busch could not register Budweiser as the EU brand. Before taking its case to the European Court of Justice, the brewing giant also unsuccessfully appealed the OHIM’s decision before the European General Court in March 2009.

For more information, please contact Aleksandra Noveska at our Macedonia office.

Source: Deutsche Welle

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