Battle of the 'Buds' reaches Hong Kong

Anheuser-Busch takes Budvar to court in trademark battle

July 12, 1999 - In the latest round of the ongoing battle between Budweiser and Budvar, American-based Anheuser Busch has taken Czech-owned Budejovicky Budvar to court in Hong Kong.


The Hong Kong Sunday Morning Post reported that A-B said in court papers that Budejovicky Budvar beer had infringed on the Budweiser trademark since Budejovicky is the Czech word for Budweiser.

The U.S. brewer is seeking a court order to have the Czech company's products taken off the shelves in Hong Kong, the report said. Anheuser-Busch has launched similar lawsuits in Europe and the United States.

The Czechs say they had claims to the name long before the Americans began brewing beer. "Budweiser," named after a Czech village called Ceske Budejovice, was made as far back as the Middle Ages, they said. The term Budweiser describes beer from that region, the same way Burgundy and Champagne describe wine from those wine-making regions of France, they said.

The German immigrants who founded Anheuser-Busch in 1876 used the Budweiser name for their beer because it was well-known in their homeland. In Czechoslovakia, the state-owned Budvar brewery was founded in 1895.

Last month, federal regulators in the United States began investigating whether the Czech brewer's use of the "Budweiser Budvar" label violates U.S. trademark law.

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