Italian court backs A-B

Budvar will appeal decision to Supreme Court

Feb 20, 2002 - The latest round in the ongoing, worldwide battle between Anheuser-Busch and Czech brewery Budejoviky Budvar has gone to A-B as an Italian court ruled against two Italian distributors for disregarding an earlier ruling that prohibited the Czech exporter from using the Budweiser name.


The decision confirmed A-B's exclusive trademark rights in Italy. The ruling could result in the confiscation of the Czech beer from import distributors and retail outlets. Nonetheless, Budvar spokesman Martin Dolezel said Budejovicky Budvar has no plans to stop selling its beer in the Italian market and is in the process of finding new distributors. Budvar appealed the court decision to the Italian Supreme Court.

Both companies have used the Bud name for more than 100 years, but courtroom clashes have multiplied in recent years since the two brewers expanded efforts to export worldwide.

Anheuser-Busch exports to more than 80 countries, and the state-owned Czech brewer now sells to more than 60 countries. The two companies are battling each other on numerous legal terrains, with nearly 40 court cases and more than 40 administrative proceedings at patent offices around the globe.

Budvar has experienced several recent setbacks, including a ruling last month that awarded exclusive rights to Anheuser-Busch in Denmark. The American beer maker has also won recent battles in Spain and Finland. However, Czech Budvar has maintained rights to distribute under the Budweiser label in Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal and Switzerland.

Budvar began selling its beers in the United States about 15 months ago, but does so under the Czechvar name.

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